Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Muhammad Sani-Sidi, has urged disaster managers in West African countries to work together towards reducing the impacts on communities in the sub-region.
A statement by NEMA Press Officer, Manzo Ezekiel, said Sani-Sidi made the call while addressing the Executive Board Meeting of the Regional Committee for Disaster Management in West Africa in Dakar, Senegal.
It said the agency’s DG, who is the Board President, said the cross boundary nature of disaster and the impacts required collective actions from all of the countries.
He was quoted as saying: “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 fact that occurrence 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).”
It said the Dakar meeting, which opened on Wednesday with the NEMA boss presiding was 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.