By Chimezie Godfrey
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq has sensitized the citizens on coordinated approach in ensuring disaster risk reduction in the country.
Farouq engaged in this sensitization endeavor on Friday in Abuja in commemoration of this year’s ‘International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction’ with the theme,”Disaster Risk Governance.”
She said the sensitization is done as part of the ministry’s effort in strengthening the existing strategies for disaster risk reduction across the country.
“It is my pleasure to welcome you to this all-important fire exit/evacuation drill being carried out in commemoration of this year “International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction” by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development.
“As you all are aware, 13th of October every year has been set aside by the United Nations to raise awareness, educate the public and to mobilize political will and resources in ensuring Disaster Risk Reduction globally.
“The international theme of this year’s commemorating is “Disaster Risk Governance”.
“Meanwhile, Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) in realization of the need to ensure coordinated approach in addressing Disaster Risk Reduction has chosen this year’s national theme as “Disaster Risk Governance”.
“This national theme is a reflection of the Ministry’s focus on strengthening the existing strategies for disaster risk reduction and to facilitate the development of new ones where there are gaps in line with international best practices as contained in the Sendai the Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015.
“Today we are translating the call for Disaster Risk Reduction into action and departing from the normal rhetoric in making international days with speeches.
“Hence, the Ministry has organized this simulated fire exit drill which focus in raising awareness among the public and private organizations as well as mitigating the risks of fire especially in the high rising buildings,” she said.
The Minister noted that the purpose of the fire exit/evacuation drill is to ensure effective and efficient use of the exit facilities available in the case of emergency.
“Such drills ensure orderly exit under control and prevention of panic that has been responsible for much of the loss of life in major fire disaster.
“What we have just done is remarkable, considering the series of incidences of fire disaster in public and private building in Nigeria.
“In 2020 alone we have witnessed more than 20 fire incidents in both public and private buildings.
“Experience and research have shown that panic, stampede and smoke inhalation rather than burns from fire have been responsible for loss of life in the major fire disaster history.
“As a Ministry charged with the responsibility of coordinating all actions in disaster preparedness and mitigation, we are poised to continue a sustained sensitization of the general public to guide against unforeseen fire disaster,”she said.
The Minister thanked President Buhari for his vision and creating enabling environment for translating his vision into action.
She reiterated that the ministry shall continue to uphold the mantle of the President’s visionary leadership.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Nura Bashir Alkali in his remark said that ability to save lives and reduce the impact of disasters depends on precautionary steps taken before the occurrence of disasters.
He noted that the purpose of the fire exit drills is to ensure the efficient and safe use of the exit facilities available in the case of emergencies.
Alkali stressed that proper drills ensures orderly exit and prevents the panic that has been responsible for much of the loss of lives in major fire disasters.
He called on Nigerians to mindful of the need to do everything they can to reduce exposure to hazards, lesson the vulnerability of people and properties.