The National Emergency Management Agency was established via Act 20 as amended by Act 50 of 1999. The Agency is charged with mandates to manage disaster in all ramifications, having been established to cover the lapses that existed in the former agency that was known as National Emergency Relief Agency (NERA).
The scope of NEMA mandates cover all aspects of disaster management circle from forecasting, mitigation, response and recovery. To actualize these, the Agency has been organized in a suitable administrative and operational structures, developed policies, acquired infrastructures and technologies to meet the desired expectations of effective and efficient disaster coordination.
At present, NEMA has a total of 8 departments, 16 Zonal, Territorial and Operations offices located across the six geo-political zones.
Disaster management is a complex task that continues to unfold with increasing complexity of incidents induced by human and natural factors. Science and technological advancement that are not properly managed often create consequential by-products that influence or exacerbate disasters. I am happy that our scientists have risen to the occasion and today we are here to discuss about technology and disaster management.
I consider it a privilege to rub minds with you on the compelling theme of “Emerging Technologies in Emergency Preparedness and Response” as we gather to explore the intersection of technology and emergency management; we are presented with a profound opportunity to leverage innovation for the betterment of our communities and the world at large.
The term “emerging technologies” encompasses a vast array of cutting-edge innovations that have the potential to revolutionize our approach to emergency preparedness and response. From the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning to the utilization of drones, internet of Things (loT) devices, big data analytics, and beyond, these technologies offer a transformative palette of fools and capabilities to enhance our ability to predict, mitigate and respond to emergencies with unprecedented precision and efficiency.
Consider, for instance, the profound impact of harnessing advanced data analytics to anticipate and strategize responses fo natural disasters. Furthermore, the deployment of drones equipped with state-of-the-art sensors can provide invaluable real-time reconnaissance and aid in the swift and precise execution of search rescue operations in hazardous and hard-to-reach environments.
Technology aided forecast and prediction of hazards have continued improve with reasonable level of accuracy and provide useful data for disaster managers to prepare ahead of anticipated untoward situations.
In leveraging on the benefits of technology for efficient disaster management, the National Emergency Management Agency has acquired the following infrastructures:
1. COSPAS SARSAT Nigerian Mission Control Centre. The facility is a satellite based technology that uses Cospas-Sarsat system to track distress signals from 406 signals from anywhere in the world for rescue operation. The facility is a product of partnership and cooperation among countries that signed up to its usage. Nigeria, South Africa and Algeria are the only countries in Africa that are presently on the COSPAS-SARSAT platform. The technology is used mosily in relation with operators in the maritime and aeronautics sectors but can also be useful for other sectors and personal utilization.
2. Hytera Radios for real-time communication.
3. Infrared Search and Rescue life locator
4. Search tap and braking system
However, as we embrace the promise of emerging technologies, it is incumbent upon to recognize and address the challenges and considerations that accompany their integration into emergency preparedness and response efforts. We must conscientiously navigate issues such as data privacy, cybersecurity, infrastructure constraints, and the imperative need for comprehensive training to
ensure the responsible and effective implementation of these technologies.
One of the most pivotal factors in leveraging the full potential of emerging technologies lies in fostering collaboration among an array of stakeholders. This entails nurturing partnerships technology developers, emergency responders, governmental bodies, and the broader community to co-create innovative solutions tailored to the unique exigencies of each locality and scenario.
As we venture into this technological frontier, it is paramount that we remain attentive to the ethical and moral implications of employing emerging technologies in emergency situations. We must vigilantly navigate the potentials biases in decision-making algorithms, address privacy concerns, and ensure that the utilization of technology is
consistently underpinned by the principles of fairness, equity, and the preservation of human dignity.
The integration of emerging technologies in emergency preparedness and response presents an extraordinary opportunity to fortify our collective resilience in the face of adversities. As we press onward, let us remain resolute in addressing the challenges, embracing the Prospects for collaboration and innovation and unwavering in our dedication to upholding the ethical considerations that accompany this technological evolution.
Conclusively, I implore all of us to persist in our pursuit of adapting and hamessing emerging technologies with a steadfast commitment to
enhancing our emergency preparedness and response capabilities while upholding the fundamental values that define our shared humanity.