The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Abuja Operations Office, has commenced training of 70 youths and stakeholders under its volunteer emergency management programme.
The NEMA Coordinator ,Abuja Operation Office, Mr Ishaya Chonoko, said the training targeted 70 youths each from Kwara, Niger, Kogi and the FCT.
Chonoko said the involvement of youths in disaster management was informed by the need to prevent disasters following the 2013 NIMET annual rain prediction.
He said the decision by the office to engage youths in volunteer service was borne out of the fact that they were always among the first to get to disaster scenes.
“We decided to involve youths in emergency volunteer service so that they can channel their patriotism to the country to saving lives, it is a fact that they are always among the first to get to accident or emergency scenes.
“We believe that if they are well trained and equipped with the necessary kits they will be vanguards of prompt emergency response and a means of saving lives,’’ he said.
He said the NIMET rainfall prediction for 2013 required the involvement of all and sundry to curb the menace.
According to him, volunteerism was an integral part of disaster management, while capacity building among stakeholders is a way of equipping emergency volunteers in carrying out the task of saving lives.
He said the training was also an effort at ensuring that the scale of destruction was reduced to the barest minimum if floods occur.
He appealed to states and local governments to replicate the idea of engaging youths as emergency responders in their various domains.
Earlier, the Director-General, FCT Emergency Management Agency (FCT EMA), Malam Abbas Idris, commended NEMA’s efforts at reducing casualty rates through the engagement of youths in emergency response.
Represented by Mrs Nnenna Ochea, FCT EMA Desk Officer, Idris said the office was working with other stakeholders, especially NEMA to safeguard lives of residents and visitors into the territory.
The Principal Programme Officer of FCT National Orientation Agency, Mr Eben Kolawole, said the office had commenced awareness campaigns on the need for residents of the FCT to have a positive attitude towards disaster prevention.
He advised people against the construction of structures and dumping of refuse on water channels capable of causing flood disasters in the FCT.
Representative of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, FCT chapter, Mr Simeon Nwaubani, pledged his organisation’s commitment to building an enduring partnership with stakeholders in emergency response.
He said the Red Cross would continue to empower emergency response volunteers through training and provision of first aid kits for usage during emergencies.
The workshop is aimed at disaster management, search and rescue and evacuation of flooded communities, camp management and the coordination and use of first aid for drowning victims.