With the global increase in the occurrence of disasters, Director General National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mohammed Sani Sidi has urged disaster managers in the West African countries to work together towards reducing the impacts on communities in the sub-region.
Addressing the Executive Board Meeting of the Regional Committee for Disaster Management in West Africa in Dakar, Senegal, Muhammad Sani Sidi who is the Board President said the cross boundary nature of disaster and the impacts require collective actions from all of the countries.
He said "according to statistics there was flooding in The Republic of Benin, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal between the months of June and December 2013.
"This highlights the facts that occurrences of natural disasters in West Africa is now on the increase and it has been attributed to climate change coupled with vulnerability of the sub-region in relation to the rest of the world.
"Until a permanent solution is found to reverse or abate the menace of climate change, it is our responsibility as disaster managers to reduce its impacts on the populace.
"Since disaster is cross-boundary in nature, it is necessary for the sub-region to work together to move disaster management in West Africa forward. Fortunately, this is our objective in GECEAO (being the French acronym of the Regional Committee for Disaster Management in West Africa)."
The Director General of NEMA and Regional President of the West African Committee of the disaster managers said the group has designed an action plan for 2013-2014 which covers "more efficient use of hydro-meteorological information, harmonization of preparedness and response tools, financial resources mobilization and effective implementation of the Oslo guidelines on the use of military and civil defense assets in disaster relief," among others.
He said through the committee, member countries would benefit from the opportunity it provides for cross fertilization of ideas and experiences as well as available training opportunities for their disaster managers.
The meeting in Dakar, Senegal which opened Wednesday with the Nigerian DG NEMA Mohammed Sani Sidi presiding is facilitated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) with the participants drawn from governmental, regional and international agencies engaged in disaster management from all countries in the West African Sub-Region.
It will recall that the Director General of NEMA Mohammed Sani Sidi was elected as President of the Regional Committee for Disaster Management in West Africa at its consultative meeting last year in Abuja.