The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has set a maximum 20 minutes target, within which to respond to emergencies and disasters across the country.
The Director-General of NEMA, Muhammadu Muhammed, announced the target at a one-day retreat for Heads of Territorial, Zonal and Operations Offices of the agency on Monday in Abuja.
The theme for the retreat is: “Effective and Efficient Service Delivery at Operational Level.”
Mr Muhammed said that the essence of the retreat was to discuss with the field officers so as to improve service delivery at the operational level.
He added that as disaster managers, they must fashion out measures for intervention and initiate disaster risk reduction strategies suitable for their respective community.
“Delivering effective and efficient service calls for serious commitment on our part.
“We are, therefore, setting targets for ourselves,’’ he said.
According to him, there will be an awareness campaign on reducing the risk of flooding and other disasters and the development of resilience among communities through the implementation of the Sendai Framework of Action.
Other targets are responding to all catastrophic disasters in the country, shortening the response time to emergencies and disasters to 20 minutes.
The agency will also ensure availability and workability of all rescue equipment for the country; implementation of the humanitarian – development nexus; support for the provision of basic needs for IDPs in catastrophic disasters and support for the coordination of safe and dignified return of IDPs in the country in collaboration with other stakeholders.
Mr Muhammed said that a collective effort from all staff of the agency was needed to succeed in the set targets.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sa’adiya Farouq, declared the retreat open.
Ms Farouq charged retreat participants to represent the government well as they carry out their duties.
She said their roles as field officers, therefore, “is not to wait for disasters to happen, but to go for assessment or make a report to the headquarters.’’
“You must cascade the policies of the government into the local levels and improve the knowledge of the people in disaster risk reduction.
“Disaster prevention education provides people with the knowledge and skills needed to systematically recognise hazards and vulnerabilities.
“This is to reduce the physical risks in their environment, make use of capacities and resources, and protect themselves and others from hazard impacts,’’ she said.
Similarly, Sam Tende, Guest Speaker at the event, said there must be a change in attitude in other to render effective service to humanity.
He charged the field officers to develop their abilities and become professionals by taking ownership of each task given to them.
Mr Tende, a professor, said that for an operational manager to be effective and efficient, he or she must demonstrate trust, share information, provide opportunities for everyone to win, provide feedback and admit mistakes.