$665b lost in three years to disasters


About $665billion has been lost in the last three years globally to disasters, it was learnt.

According to statistics, large percentage of the loss was recorded by high-income countries.

This was revealed in Abuja on Monday by the Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaja during the celebration of ‘International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction’ with the theme; ‘Build to last’.

Maihaja, who was represented by the Director of Finance and Account, Mr. Sunday Hamman, explained that the most effective way to reduce risk was by incorporating disaster risk reduction into investment decisions.

He said: “According to the United Nations International strategy for Disaster Reduction, there are about $665billion direct economic losses during the past three years .A considerable proportion of those losses comes from infrastructures failures in high-income countries.

“The theme has captured the essence why we must work towards integrating disaster risk reduction into investment decisions which is the most cost-effective way to reduce risk.”

On the essence of reducing risk, Maihaja said: “Weak implementation and enforcement mechanisms are common problems in countries where most urban development is informal, as such when critical infrastructure fails, businesses experience indirect losses, as production, distribution and supply chains are interrupted.

“The recurring disasters and their impacts on our people and environment must serve as a wake up call to all stakeholders, governments at all levels, individuals and the organized private sector must rise up to their responsibilities on disaster risk reduction.

“Disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business; therefore the need to re-strategize and foster stronger collaboration on principled and effective disaster management remains paramount. Despite the competing demands for resources, we must work together to improve the lives of the vulnerable citizens as well as enhance their resilience.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said risks could be avoided if people have respect for nature and other environmental issues.

Fashola, who was represented by the Director of Construction of the ministry, Arc. Mosunmade Odusanya, said with adequate commitments, dedications, and constant awareness, disasters can be prevented and minimized if they occur.

He also noted that the speed at which help and services are rendered when disaster occurs should be of paramount importance.

Speaking on areas that require attention in order to mitigate risks associated with disasters, Fashola said: “Priority should be given for the consideration of planning, environmental issues, structural design, construction and other building components that can stand the test of time occasioned by unforeseen disaster.

“At the pre-design, design, construction and post-construction stages, the provisions in the National Building Code, Fire Code and other environmental prescriptions should be adequately considered.

“Spaces for human habitation, workspaces, setbacks, access roads, fire prevention and firefighting equipment; ecological, geophysical thermal consideration should take the prime of place.

“Also hazardous spaces such as filling stations, chemical factories, bunkers and shelters should also be given attention at the design stage of the development. Consideration should also be given to evacuation of people and goods.”



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