By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
With funding support from the European Commission – Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Christian Aid has launched a project aimed at strengthening disaster preparedness in Nigeria (with a focus on flooding) by improving Early Warning and Early Response (EW-ER) systems in Benue, Kaduna and Plateau States.
A statement made available, jointly signed by Bamidele Fagbite, Senior Programme Coordinator, Disaster and Peace Building, Christian Aid (UK) Nigeria, Adebola Adeeko, Programme Officer, Behaviour Change Communication, Christian Aid (UK) Nigeria and Faith Alobo, Programme Associate, Communications, Christian Aid (UK) Nigeria, said that “Improving Early Warning and Early Response Systems to Strengthen Disaster Preparedness in Nigeria’s Middle Belt (E4E)” is a 2-year project that will contribute to improved emergency preparedness, timeliness and quality of risk information and response actions for multiple natural hazards by communities, government (from local to federal) and NGOs in a coordinated manner.
“These will be achieved by building community resilience and preparedness to flooding disaster, designing contingency plans for response, strengthening coordination among agencies of government mandated to respond to such disasters, and their capacity, while enhancing effective, inclusive and timely response to disaster in line with the national emergency and disaster response framework.
“The intervention will focus on 27 rural locations across 9 LGAs of Benue, Plateau and Kaduna states. It will directly reach 40,500 vulnerable individuals within the 27 target communities and 15 local, state and federal agencies including LEMA, SEMA, NEMA, NIHSA, NIMET, ward structures and ministries such as the Federal Ministry of Environment, Water Resources and Agriculture.
“We will also work with non-state actors such as Nigerian Red Cross and other NGOs. The 40,500 beneficiaries are members of communities in watershed rural and urban areas with a record of incessant natural hazards/flooding disasters, ” it stated.
Christian Aid explained that the locations were selected because of their vulnerability to multiple natural hazards including flooding disaster, and unmet needs in preparedness and response.
” In Kaduna state, we will be working in the following LGAs and communities:
Kaduna North LGA: Ungwan Rimi, Malali, Rafjn Guza, and Dantoro
Kaduna South LGA: Barnawa and Bashama
Chikun LGA: Ungwan Romi, Television, and Nasarawa
“The project will ensure that the direct beneficiaries are at the driving seat, making primary decisions and taking actions. It will improve the interconnection between community/LGA, government’s structures at local, state and federal levels as well as timely information sharing, and by doing so will increase political commitment to derive decentralised Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) planning and actions to better manage disaster risks and responses.
“The most common and recurring natural disaster across target states was revealed to be flooding, with frequency, severity and spread of floods increasing over the last 6 years. Heavy rains between July and October combined with rising water levels due to runoff contribute to widespread recurrent flooding of human settlements located downstream from irrigation dams such as Lagdo dam in Cameroun on Benue River, ” it pointed out.
The statement said that however, a critical gap in the national disaster response, particularly for flooding hazards has been revealed by previous needs assessments as not being fully informed by comprehensive integrated context specific Early Warning Systems (EWS).
“Other gaps include insufficient information management of existing risks and data, including for developing and disseminating early warning information as well as coordination especially from Federal to state and local coordinating mechanism.
“The project will therefore address these needs through:
Setting up/strengthening context specific and decentralised Early Warning Systems (EWS)
Strengthening local RESPONSE by contingency planning, behaviour change, stockpiling and testing; DRR strategy planning.
“Learning linked across all levels which will lead to reduced suffering (saving lives, protection of livelihoods and health) of at least 40500 vulnerable people and reduced disaster risks at ward, local and state level.
Protection, gender, a focus on vulnerability, risk, inclusion and innovative learning will be mainstreamed.”
The European Union with its Member States is a leading global donor of humanitarian aid. Through the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), the EU helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, ECHO provides assistance to the most vulnerable people solely on the basis of humanitarian needs, without discrimination of race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.
Christian Aid is an international development agency that has a vision to end to poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. We began work in Nigeria in 2003, working with all groups of people regardless of religion or social status. It works in the areas of Community Health and HIV, Humanitarian, Accountable governance and gender, incorporating governance and social inclusion into all its work.
Christian Aid works with local partners to deliver quality and cost-effective programmes, and is willing to learn from, and share its learning with, others. Christian Aid Nigeria believes society changes through people’s increased knowledge, capacity to make informed and empowered decisions about their lives, take collective action that challenges the systems and structures that perpetuate poverty, inequality and injustice, and develop their own solutions to the problems they face.