RURAL communities have been identified as most vulnerable in disaster and conflict situation because grassroots population has limited coping capacity in such circumstances.
Speaking at a two-day national training programme on disaster risk reduction for selected nongovernmental organisations in Nigeria organized by the Women, Environment and Youth Development Initiative (WOYODEV), in partnership with Global network on disaster reduction and the European Union (EU) in Ilorin on Tuesday, the executive director of the WOYODEV, Mrs Tosin Ajayi, called for greater involvement of local governments to ameliorate consequences of disaster and conflict situation on rural dwellers.
“Highly vulnerable population in disaster in Nigeria are usually the children, women, elderly, youth, especially those that are found in a rural setting because they have limited coping capacity when confronted with disaster or conflict”, she said.
Mrs Ajayi, who said that Niger, Kwara and Kogi states in the North Central geopolitical zone have been identified as red flag for flooding, added that conflicts in the northern parts of the country, erosion in most parts of the South East, and pollution resulting from oil spillage in the South-South geopolitical zone of the country are among other disaster situation.
She said that the global initiative was aimed at bringing the disaster and risk issues to the fore so that communities could know about them and solutions were proffered, possibly with adequate support from respective local government authorities.
“This programme is aimed at building the resilience of the people, especially those in the rural areas. Also, we aim to encourage community-based adaptation, to discourage people from rural-urban drift due to disaster. We want local government authorities to be more involved in disaster management by engaging communities to map out flashpoint areas. This step could help save lives during a disaster,” she said.
Mrs Ajayi said that the training programme is an initiative of organisations at the grassroots, but a global initiative that is being implemented in about 50 countries.
“Nineteen of the countries of the world are in Africa. These are countries with high vulnerability index. People here are exposed to disaster risk. So, after this programme, the participating NGOs will go to their respective communities, conduct interviews and survey to help people talk about their daily disaster, record death, losses, poverty experienced. The information gathered will be used to make advocacy to regional, national and global bodies on how to bring succour to affected communities,” she said.