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  • Christian Aid launches ECHO-funded initiative to strengthen disaster preparedness in Nigeria's Middle Belt

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Christian Aid launches ECHO-funded initiative to strengthen disaster preparedness in Nigeria's Middle Belt

Source(s):  Christian Aid (CA)

With funding from the European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Christian Aid has launched a project to strengthen disaster preparedness in Nigeria - with a focus on flooding - by improving early warning and early response systems in Benue, Kaduna and Plateau States.

Over 40,000 people are set to benefit directly from Christian Aid's two-year project, "Improved Early Warning and Early Response (EW-ER) to Strengthen Disaster Preparedness in Nigeria's Middle Belt (E4E)."

As well as contributing to improved emergency preparedness, and the timeliness and quality of risk information, the project will also help communities, government (from local to federal) and NGOs respond more effectively to multiple natural hazards in a coordinated manner.

This will be achieved by: building community resilience and preparedness to flooding disasters; designing contingency response plans; strengthening coordination among government agencies mandated to respond to such events, and their capacity; and enhancing effective, inclusive and timely response to disasters, in line with the national emergency and disaster response framework.

Christian Aid's intervention will focus on 27 rural locations across nine local government areas (LGAs) of Benue, Plateau and Kaduna states. It will directly reach 40,500 vulnerable individuals within the 27 target communities, together with ward structures, ministries such as the Federal Ministry of Environment and Agriculture, and 15 local, state and federal agencies - including the State Emergency Management Agency and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency.

The 40,500 beneficiaries live in communities in watershed rural and urban areas with a record of incessant natural hazards/flooding disasters. These locations were selected because of their vulnerability to multiple disasters including floods, as well as unmet needs in preparedness and response.

According to Christian Aid, the project will ensure that the direct beneficiaries are in the driving seat, making primary decisions and taking actions. It will improve the interconnection between community/LGA and government structures at local, state and federal levels, as well as timely information sharing.

By doing so, this should increase political commitment to derive decentralised Disaster Risk Reduction planning and actions to better manage disaster risks and responses, says Christian Aid. Flooding has been found to be the most common and recurring natural disaster across the target states, with a rise in the frequency, severity and spread of floods over the last six years. Heavy rains between July and October, combined with rising water levels due to runoff, contribute to widespread recurrent flooding of human settlements located downstream from irrigation dams such as Lagbo dam in Cameroun on Benue River.

However, previous needs assessments have revealed a critical gap in the national disaster response, particularly for flooding hazards, with findings showing that it is not fully informed by comprehensive, integrated, context-specific Early Warning Systems.
Other gaps include insufficient information management of existing risks and data, including for developing and disseminating early warning information, as well as coordination - especially from federal to state and local coordinating mechanisms.

Christian Aid's project will therefore address these needs by:

  • setting up/strengthening context specific and decentralised Early Warning Systems
  • strengthening local RESPONSE by contingency planning, behaviour change, stockpiling and testing; DRR strategy planning.
  • learning linked across all levels, which will lead to reduced suffering (saving lives, protection of livelihoods and health) of at least 40,500 vulnerable people and reduced disaster risks at ward, local and state level.
    Protection, gender, a focus on vulnerability, risk, inclusion and innovative learning will run through the entire project.

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  • Publication date 12 Jun 2018

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