EMERGENCY/CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND CROWDSOURCE MAPPING IN NIGERIA

Emergency management (or disaster management) is the coordination and integration of all activities necessary to build, sustain and improve the capability for disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. It is the continuous process by which all individuals, groups and communities manage hazards in an effort to avoid or ameliorate the impact of disasters resulting from the hazards. And, effective emergency management relies on thorough integration of emergency plans at all levels of government and non-government involvement.

Nigeria has continued to witness a series of embarrassing disasters and emergency situations that are largely human-induced from post-election violence, youth militancy, communal clashes, religious conflicts, fire outbreaks, road accidents, kidnapping and robberies. The magnitudes of the carnage usually overwhelm response agencies responsible for tackling and mitigating the situations.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) as the coordinating organ for response agencies becomes the major attraction, even when its staffs on humanitarian duties survives attacks from warring parties, cases which have been seen during the Jos ethnic crisis, communal clashes between villages. It could be said that with NEMA in place in Nigeria, we have had the problem of coordination with local disaster management, during pre and post emergencies and disasters and because disasters are always localized, all the five phases of emergency management – prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery depend on local structures, which are not effective, to succeed.

Nevertheless, emergency management and coordination has shifted from grounds men to the use of technology to co-ordinate emergencies and humanitarian services. In recent years, advancements in technologies have made it possible for virtual communities such as OpenStreetMap, Ushahidi, Sahana, CrisisMappers, Virtual Disaster Viewer, Google MapMaker and INSTEDD to provide increasing support to disaster preparedness and emergency response efforts. A feat that has helped in managing crisis in Libya using the Libya Crisis Map, was used in co-ordinating humanitarian affairs in Haiti and in the Alabama Tornadoes and a list of others.

With disasters been prevalent in Africa, it is most important that we begin to look at leveraging on these technologies, thus leading to capacity building in this area, which in some months will start, no thanks to crisismappers members that are resided in Nigeria. Our Strength lies in the number of Nigerians that uses mobile technologies in communication escalating every day. We hope to create crisis camps in each state, which might comprise of disaster emergency officers, especially in states, Information Technology professionals, social entrepreneurs and volunteers.

FORESTS AND ITS SERVICE TO NIGERIA AND NIGERIANS

Forest is a plant community, predominantly of trees or other woody vegetation, occupying an extensive area of land. In its natural state, a forest remains in a relatively fixed, self – regulated condition over a long period of time.

In Nigeria, we have two predominant classes of forest, which is the Tropical Savannas of the Northern Nigeria, which are dominated by grasses and sedges, with open stands of widely spaced trees that are frequently thorny; and we have the Tropical rain forests which are characteristics of the Southern Nigeria, plant growth is quite profuse here, and because the metamorphosis of leaves occur gradually throughout each year, the forest is always active.

Forests cover only about 12% in 2005 of the country’s total land area, but has shrank into 9.9% in 2010. Deforestation, which is the illegal cutting down of trees has become a major problem, made worse by massive rural-urban migration, and construction works. Other environmental threats include settlement within forest reserved areas, bushfires, increasing demand for fuelwood and timber, road expansion and oil extraction activities.

Perhaps, it should be known that the livelihoods of 80% of the Nigerian population depends on forests, and it provides home to more than 15% people in Nigeria, and even serve as a home to 60% of terrestrial biodiversity.We are quite sure that Nigeria has a wonderful share of the $379 billion total global trade in forest products in 2005.Forests, at large helps in the cycle of carbon usage by which energy flows through Earth’s ecosystem

Nigeria has an organized system of nature preserves, game reserves, and national parks in addition to a forest management system, but most management is carried on at the state level where cases of malpractices and mismanagement of funds are gross, especially with the introduction of ecological funds .Law enforcement and protected system infrastructure are lacking, and abuses of protected land are common. The country also participates in the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Several Nigerian groups have campaigned actively, but with little success, to compel the government and major oil companies to introduce environmental safeguards. In 1988 the government created the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) to address problems of desertification, oil pollution, and land degradation, but the FEPA has had only a minor impact

Forest is a plant community, predominantly of trees or other woody vegetation, occupyin an extensive area of land. In its natural state, a forest remains in a relatively fixed, self – regulated codition over a long period of time.

In Nigeria, we have two predominant classes of forest, which is the Tropical Savannas of the Northern Nigeria, which are dominated by grasses and sedges, with open stands of widely spaced trees that are frequently thorny; and we have the Tropical rain forests which are characteristics of the Southern Nigeria, plant growth is quite profuse here, and because the metamorphosis of leaves occur gradually throughout each year, the forest is always active.

Forests cover only about 12% in 2005 of the country’s total land area, but has shrank into 9.9% in 2010. Deforestation, which is the illegal cutting down of trees has become a major problem, made worse by massive rural-urban migration, and construction works. Other environmental threats include settlement within forest reserved areas, bushfires, increasing demand for fuelwood and timber, road expansion and oil extraction activities.

Perhaps, it should be known that the livelihoods of 80% of the Nigerian population depends on forests, and it provides home to more than 15% people in Nigeria, and even serve as a home to 60% of terrestrial biodiversity.We are quite sure that Nigeria has a wonderful share of the $379 billion total global trade in forest products in 2005.Forests, at large helps in the cycle of carbon usage by which energy flows through Earth’s ecosystem

Nigeria has an organized system of nature preserves, game reserves, and national parks in addition to a forest management system, but most management is carried on at the state level where cases of malpractices and mismanagement of funds are gross, especially with the introduction of ecological funds .Law enforcement and protected system infrastructure are lacking, and abuses of protected land are common. The country also participates in the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Several Nigerian groups have campaigned actively, but with little success, to compel the government and major oil companies to introduce environmental safeguards. In 1988 the government created the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) to address problems of desertification, oil pollution, and land degradation, but the FEPA has had only a minor impact.

With the inception of the internet and youth organizations, the future looks brighter than what it has used to be; we have organizations, volunteers, climate change advocators and social entrepreneurs, now collaborating to make the environment sustainable, we only hope that all levels of government in Nigeria will join hands with this new formations to at least kickstart a new path to a sustainable environment.

THE WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2011 IN NIGERIA

The World Environment Day (WED) was established by the United Nations
General Assembly to mark the opening of the 1972 Stockholm Conference
on the Human Environment.Celebrating WED is about the inspirational power of individual actions that collectively become an exponential force for positive change.

WED is celebrated around the world in many ways, including street rallies,
bicycle parades, green concerts, essay and poster competitions in schools,
tree planting, recycling efforts, clean-up campaigns and much more.

In Nigeria, WED will be celebrated by hiking the hills of Gwarinpa, in Abuja and organizing a climate change workshop on the hills of Gwarinpa on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 9am and on Sunday, June 5, 2011 we will be having an Arts and Crafts exhibition at Dreemi, Plot 75, 1st Avenue, Gwarinpa, Abuja by 3pm with the theme: Forests, Service to Nature. No thanks to the Nigeria Youth Climate Change Coalition and Greenback Nigeria that is putting this together to create awareness about environmental sustainability and issues surrounding Climate Change.

However, as the Environment becomes the biggest threat to all other Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), it will be of much concern to create more awareness on environmental sustainability, in essence, Nigeria’s natural resources, which as become its valuable assets are seriously threatened, mostly by anthropogenic causes. Grim statistics from the Nigeria MDG report for 2010 showed that between 2000 and 2010, the area of forest shrank by a third, from 14.4% to 9.9% of the land area; little progess was made up to 2005 in providing access to safe water and accessing improved sanitation.

Moreover, Nigeria remains acutely vulnerable to climate change and its impacts in each ecological zone will be different. But, if well managed, measures to deal with the effects of climate change which include creating awareness, building eco-friendly communities, encouraging eco-friendly products, and enforcing environmental degradation laws provide important opportunities for ensuring more sustainable progress.