Mr Aliou Dia, the UN Regional Programme Specialist on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Eastern, Southern and West Africa, says Nigeria is a role model for disaster management in the region.
He said this in Abuja on Thursday at an interactive session with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and a UN National Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity Assessment Team.
Dia, who led the team to Nigeria, noted that they were in the country in continuation of an earlier assessment exercise carried out by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on disaster risk reduction and response.
He said the exercise was aimed at assisting the country in capacity building.
Dia said that the team, which comprised all UN Agencies, would meet with officials of ECOWAS to educate them on the need to replicate the Nigerian disaster response model in the region.
According to him, the team will carry out disaster assessment in the country with a focus on the actualisation of five priority areas by the UN Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA).
He listed the five priority areas to include ensuring that disaster risk reduction was a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation, identifying assess and monitoring of disaster risks and enhancing early warning.
Others include using knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels by reducing the underlying risk factors as its relates to changing social, economic, environmental conditions and land use.
``The HFA outlines five priorities for action, and offers guiding principles and practical means for achieving disaster resilience.
``Its goal is to substantially reduce disaster losses by 2015 by building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters. This means reducing loss of lives and social, economic, and environmental assets when hazards strike,’’ he said.
Dia said the team would also focus on impacts of hazards associated with geological events, weather, water, climate variability and climate change.
He said the team with representatives of NEMA would look at strengthening the disaster preparedness of the country for effective response to disasters at all levels.
Earlier, NEMA’s Director-General, Mohammad Sani-Sidi, noted that disasters had been on the increase in the country in the last decade.
Represented by the agency’s Director of Training, Mrs Clementina Asueni, the DG said the team would visit some parts of the country to carry out a risk reduction capacity assessment.
He commended the UN for collaborating with NEMA to reduce risk in the country and pledged the agency's cooperation.