Stakeholders and engineers under the auspices of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) have described early warning as very critical and crucial in the management of disasters in Nigeria.
This was the unanimous opinion of stakeholders during the seventh conference and annual general meeting of the Giri branch of the society themed “Early Warning Signal and Disaster Management” held yesterday (October 25, 2022) in Abuja.
Giving his keynote address, the acting director, strategic space application, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Mathew Adepoju described disasters as “serious disruptions to the functioning of a community that exceeds its capacity to cope using its resources”.
Adepoju cited examples of natural disasters – storms, heat waves, freezes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, droughts, floods, epidemics, pests’ invasion etc.
According to him, developing countries suffer greater when they are hit by disasters; hence the need to build capacities to respond to these hazards.
Adepoju said the disaster management cycle has to include preparedness, response, rehabilitation, reconstruction and prevention. Early warning systems, he said, will provide disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness to safeguard development.
He elucidated that early warning systems are sets of capacities needed to generate and disseminate timely and meaningful warning/information, to enable individuals, communities and organisations threatened by hazards to prepare.
He identified satellite maps as some type of early warning system for disaster, adding that space technology is a critical aspect of warning systems.
“The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) was founded in 1999 and signed into law by then president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on August 27, 2010. NASRDA focuses on capacity-building and has eight operational centres. The role of NASRDA in disaster management includes the deployment of space assets for disaster response, increase institutional outreach and capacity building.
“NASRDA presently hosts the United Nations platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). It was established by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), through its resolution 61/110 of December 14, 2006. Through the UN-SPIDER, NASRDA has worked with International Charter Space and major disasters. It is composed of space agencies and space system operators from around the world, who work together to provide satellite images for disaster monitoring purposes,” he stated.
He added that NASRDA currently works with critical stakeholders such as NEMA, NIHSA, NIMET and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to provide space-based information to enhance emergency response and recovery during disasters.
Earlier in his welcome address, the chairman of the society, Giri branch, Engr. Abdulrahman Mohammed said the conference provides a platform for engineers and stakeholders in the sector to brainstorm on developments in the sector, as well as opportunities for stakeholders in the sector in Nigeria to compare notes on sectoral development with counterparts in other climes.