February 29, 2024

NEMA develops geospatial centre to prevent disasters


By Fortune Eromosele, Abuja

The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has launched a geospatial centre in Abuja for early warning signals against disasters in the country.

Director-General, NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed during the commissioning of the Centre at the NEMA Headquarters in Abuja, said the geospatial centre is critical to learning and research for planning, prevention, preparedness and response to disasters.

According to him, “This is one of the ground-breaking achievements of the administration of His Excellency, President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR in the area of Information Technology and efforts to curtail adverse effects of natural hazards on the entire citizenry of Nigeria and their properties.

“This centre is critical to learning and research for planning, prevention, preparedness and response to disasters. It will enable rebuilding back better in the aftermath of Disasters. It is useful in all phases of emergency management (preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery). It also provides decision support system in disaster management.

“GIS has the power to integrate data from various sources into a common platform to make it readily accessible to various stakeholders for monitoring of impending risk, early warning that elicits early action. GIS provides real time imageries that guide the deployment of human and material assets on life saving missions in the event of disaster.”

Giving details to the work of the geospatial centre, Head NEMA GIS Unit, Mrs Funmi Obola, explained that “Geographic Information System (GIS) is a technology that is being used in all phases of disaster management such as preparedness, mitigation. response, recovery and rehabilitation.

“NEMA Geo Spatial Centre, that we are all here to commission today, is established to collect, collate, store, analyse and display geo-referenced disaster data within the country to aid efficient decision making in planning. Search and rescue, response, recovery and rehabilitation as well as disseminate such for humanitarian interventions.

“The Centre formerly referred to as NEMA GIS Laboratory was established by the Agency in 2006 to enhance its humanitarian operation following the paradigm shift from relief intervention to disaster risk management. At inception, the Unit comprised of only four staff while in 2010, additional five staff were employed to further strengthen the capacity of the unit.

“Some of the functions of the Unit includes: to process and use space satellite technology data for information gathering, research and forecasting for disaster management; to carry out field survey, mapping and evaluation of various disasters and its aftermath, and to carry out damage, risk vulnerability analysis and prediction for both the Agency and public consumption among others.”

Earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, officially commissioned the geospatial centre, where he urged NEMA and its partner Agencies to make the best use of the geospatial facility to improve on its service delivery to the nation.