6th December, 2010
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, says preparation for disasterÂ management in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, is imperative because disasters come mostlyÂ unannounced.
General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, LASEMA, Dr. Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, whoÂ said this at the inauguration of the Local Emergency Management Committee, LEMC, atÂ Agbowa, Epe area of the state gave the example of the displaced victims of theÂ Ajegunle flood disaster, which led to the relocating of about 1,000 people to theÂ Relief Camp at Agbowa.
â€œIt must be noted that disaster management requires the active participation andÂ collaboration of all stakeholders, especially those at the local government andÂ local council development areas.
â€œThis is so because the impact of any disaster or emergency is always on theÂ immediate communities. If this is true therefore, the wisest thing to do is to thinkÂ ahead and have a solid mechanism in place, in anticipation of such emergencies,Â which often times do not give warnings,â€ he said.
According to Oke-Osanyintolu, â€œdisasters like the Ajegunle flood, much as we do notÂ pray for them, will occasionally come. That is why we need the LEMCs on ground asÂ the first and immediate organ of response, before further assistance would come fromÂ higher quarters.
â€œI wish to state that throughout the world, emphasis has shifted from search andÂ rescue to disaster risk reduction through emergency prevention, mitigation and earlyÂ warning.Â Therefore, we in Lagos State cannot accept the back seat or be complacentÂ with our modest achievements. We must strive to catch up with the rest of the worldÂ in this important area of saving lives and property.â€
He stated that the agency intended to establish School Emergency Response Teams inÂ primary and secondary schools, as well as Hospital Emergency Management CommitteesÂ in all General Hospitals in the state.
The LASEMA boss stated that the inauguration of the committee only went a stepÂ further to legitimize and formalize what â€œwe have been doing together, for betterÂ results.
“Indeed, the best time for this exercise is now, as the state moves swiftly to theÂ rank of mega status. That status comes with its own challenges, like exposure toÂ more traffic accidents upon increased vehicular density, possibility of floods, fireÂ disasters and sundry others.
â€œSince disasters do not give warning, ours is to be prepared and be ready to moveÂ into action, everyday; every hour; every minute; every second and every moment.â€
He added that the aim of establishing the LEMCs was to prevent or reduce the impactÂ of emergencies within their geographical jurisdiction; to ensure the preparedness ofÂ their community; to coordinate response to any emergency or disaster; to undertakeÂ emergency risk management process to identify and analyse local hazards andÂ vulnerability and to provide for the recovery of their community.
So, far the LEMC has been established in 11 Local Governments and Local CouncilÂ Development Areas such as Eredo, Imota, Ikosi-Ejinrin, Ikorodu North, Ikorodu West,Â Ijede, Igbogbo-Baiyeku, Oshodi, Isolo, Agege and Ojodu.