The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday launched disaster risk reduction equipment for search and rescue operations across the country.
The agency, which described 2020 as a year of disasters, said it responded to 148 incidents based on the assessment carried out, adding that over 2 million Nigerians were affected by banditry, flooding, building collapse and other disasters last year.
The agency said the equipment donated by the Japanese Government would enable it to mitigate the impact of disasters in Nigeria.
The equipment is worth N1.8 million (500 million Japanese Yen.)
NEMA’s Director General AVM Muhammadu Muhammed said: “NEMA is inducting comprehensive disaster risk reduction equipment for search and rescue across the federation. Some of these equipment were donated by the Japanese Government. They include nine units of rescue vehicles with rescue equipment, four units of mobile water purifier systems with vehicles.”
He said NEMA workers had been trained on the usage of the specialised vehicles by experts from Toyota Tsusho Corporation of Japan, adding that the agency added value to the specialised equipment by attaching a unit of floodlights for illumination during night operations.
“This is to ensure a one-stop shop for search and rescue operation in assisting the primary response stakeholders,” he said.
On how the equipment would be deployed, Muhammed said: “One response vehicle and alternative lighting each to NEMA zonal office in the Northwest (Kaduna), Northeast (Maiduguri), Northcentral (Jos), Southwest (Ibadan), Southsouth (Port Harcourt) and Southeast (Enugu).
“Also, each would be stationed at NEMA Territorial Office in Lagos, Kano and at Abuja operations office.
“The mobile water purifier vehicles would be stationed in Abuja for deployment to any part of the country whenever the need arises to assist people in distress with clean drinking water.”
Commenting on the agency’s performance in 2020, he said: “The Year 2020 was very significant as the world was ravaged with the novel COVID-19 pandemic. This led to a complete lockdown of activities throughout the globe.
“Nigeria was not exempted from the negative impact of this pandemic. Amidst this global crisis, the nation was not spared from other devastating incidents, ranging from flooding, fire, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, road accidents, pipeline/gas explosions, herders/farmers clashes, communal clashes, cattle rustling, building collapse, etc.
“In all of these, the nation also experienced the EndSARS protest, which led to human induced crises (destruction of public and private properties, conflict and looting). All of these resulted in the displacement of persons across the country.
“The agency constituted and activated the Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) with stakeholders like the State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs), security operatives, Local Government Areas for data gathering and analysis that enhanced relief response to the devastating flood of 2020.
“Our advocacy and engagement with stakeholders in 2020 led to a reduction in the negative impacts of the flood on the people. A total of 2,353,647 people were affected by the 2020 flood disaster.
“The agency delivered humanitarian supports for 148 incidents where assessments were carried out, approved and distributed relief materials to the affected persons. These are in addition to the monthly distribution of relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons living in camps in Borno and Adamawa states.”
Also, the representative of the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, Mr. Shinozawa Takayuki, said the donation was part of its pledge of $4 billion financial cooperation and training of 40,000 government officials and local leaders in four years.
He said: “Japan hosted the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai City of Miyagi Prefecture in Japan in March 2015. At that conference, the international community reaffirmed their resolve to enhance the effort to strengthen disaster risk reduction in order to minimise loss of lives and assets, due to disasters, worldwide.
“On that occasion, the Government of Japan pledged $4 billion financial cooperation and training of 40,000 government officials and local leaders in four years. Hence, this project we are inaugurating today, which is worth a total of JPY500 million, is meant to support Nigeria’s efforts to equip NEMA and other emergency operation centers with disaster reduction related products of Japanese enterprises, is part of the fulfillment of that pledge for Nigeria.
“There is one obvious fact, which is that Japan and Nigeria have many things in common, one of which is the occurrences of natural disaster. Readily coming to mind are the past earthquakes that devastated parts of Kansai region and the tsunami in Tohoku region, all in Japan. While Nigeria has to constantly deal with natural disasters, such as flooding and erosion.”
Konga Travel Unveils Mega Summer Deals
Konga Travel and Tours, Nigeria’s frontline travel booking agency, is offering flyers the best travel packages to choice summer destinations around the world, in addition to putting its considerable expertise at their disposal in aiding them to process their visa and passport requirements.
The development serves as good news for millions of Nigerians in search of attractive travel deals for their summer vacations.
Top on the bill is a special offer on Virgin Atlantic for prospective travelers to the United Kingdom. Added to the attractive pricing offered by Konga Travel for this destination, each flyer who purchases a ticket automatically wins a free voucher to shop on Konga.
Further bound to excite flyers is a number of comprehensive and affordable summer packages to exotic locations such as Dubai, Zanzibar, Kigali, Mombasa and Nairobi.
For these locations, Konga Travel is offering a one-month visa, up to a week’s accommodation, daily breakfast, airport drop-off/pick-up and a tour of some of the most memorable sites in each location for travelers at unbelievable prices, starting from N564,731. Interestingly, the package also covers flights to each location (except Nairobi).
Also, Konga Travel is offering mouth-watering prices to Dubai, UAE and Seoul, South Korea as well as s number of destinations in the United States, including Houston, New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington D.C.
Eric Nana, VP, Konga Travel, says the summer deals being extended by the company are unmatched in the market, adding that the initiative is borne out of the desire to continually offer customers premium service and satisfaction.
‘‘Konga Travel is renowned for going over and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction. Right from inception, this is what we have been known for. Indeed, it is a factor that has made us stand out in the market. This is what we are putting on the table once again with these juicy summer vacation packages for our customers.
‘‘These deals have been carefully put together to deliver great value without burning a hole in our customers’ pockets. Also, you can rest assured that on Konga Travel, you can find the best prices for any local or international destination you may have in mind. I urge all intending travelers to check out the prices and offers on the website before making a decision,’’ he concluded.
Having emerged on the scene a little over two years ago, Konga Travel – which was recently named the Most Innovative Agency by the global airline, Virgin Atlantic, as well as Travel Agency of the Year at the 2020 Beacon of ICT (BoICT) Awards – has distinguished itself.
Within a short space of its existence, the company has grown nearly 25 percent on a month-on-month basis, acquired all the requisite and major travel certifications and rolled out multiple physical store locations nationwide.
Supreme Court of Seychelles Findings, Uphold the rights Of African Content Producers
A recent finding of the Supreme Court of the Seychelles in the case of MultiChoice Africa Holdings B.V and SuperSport International (Pty) Ltd v Intelvision Limited, shows African courts are willing to protect the rights of content producers and rights holders.
The Court found that Intelvision was breaking the law when it broadcast matches from the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) football tournament, for which it did not have broadcast rights. This is the first successful application of the Seychelles’ Copyright Act.
This decision sets a strong national and regional precedent in upholding content-sharing agreements to ensure that the rights of content providers are protected at every level of the supply chain. The goal is to ensure that creators are remunerated fairly and the content ecosystem – on which much of modern media is built – remains sustainable.
The Court ordered that a commissioner be appointed to investigate Intelvision’s accounts to assess the benefit derived by Intelvision from the illegal broadcast of the AFCON tournament. Once the investigation is complete, the Court will determine the amount to be paid by Intelvision to MultiChoice Africa and SuperSport as damages suffered by these parties.
Content piracy takes many forms, often simply amounting to intentional content theft. The respondent, Intelvision, was found to be in breach of copyright for its blatant disregard of the rights held by the content producers and rights owners.
While the Seychelles ruling is to be applauded, the fight against piracy is global and Africa is meeting the challenge head on. Civil-society organisations and government agencies across the continent are actively working to protect content-creator and owner rights by developing policy, passing laws and enforcing them.
There is also a willingness among content stakeholders to assert their own rights, as the MultiChoice and SuperSport victory in the Seychelles demonstrates. Increasingly, Africa is building a united front against piracy and fighting for copyright-protection enforcement.
Refugees Worldwide Face Rising Hunger Due to Funding Gaps Amidst Covid-19
Significant funding shortfalls across East and Southern Africa, as well as the Middle East, have forced ration cuts upon some of the world’s most vulnerable people who rely on WFP food to survive.
In East Africa alone, almost three-quarters of refugees have had their rations cut by up to 50 percent. In Southern Africa, refugees in Tanzania who depend entirely on WFP assistance have had their rations cut by almost one-third. Significant funding shortages for the Syria Regional Refugee Response mean 242,000 refugees in Jordan may be cut off from assistance at the end of August unless more funding is received.
“What we may be seeing is the impact of COVID-19 on donor government funding and this is negatively impacting our ability to respond and support some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Margot van der Velden, WFP Director of Emergencies. “The lives of the most marginalized people in the world are on the line and we are urging donors not to turn their backs on refugees when they need it most.”
To avoid any cuts in food assistance – either through reduced rations or excluding people from assistance altogether –sufficient funding is needed at least one month ahead of the expected break in the flow of food to the refugee-hosting countries.
The increasing funding gaps intersect with rising food prices and fewer opportunities for refugees to supplement their food assistance as informal economies shrink due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
Meanwhile, the number of people in desperate need is on the rise globally as conflict, disasters and economic meltdowns are driving up levels of hunger. WFP and other humanitarian agencies face brutal choices. In Rwanda, WFP has rolled out targeted food assistance prioritizing those most in need. Despite this, funding is so short that even the most vulnerable still aren’t receiving full rations, which come in the form of cash assistance.
“During COVID-19 lockdown, we couldn’t leave the camp and we couldn’t earn anything as all casual work outside the camp stopped,” said Ange, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) living in Rwanda. “The situation got worse when our food ration was reduced. My family started facing a serious food shortage.”
Some of the most underfunded WFP operations are also ones with significant refugee populations requiring support. For example, in Uganda WFP supports more than 1.2 million refugees which is 65 percent of the country operations. A country funding shortfall of more than 80 percent has had significant impacts on refugees who rely on WFP assistance.
As a new WFP report indicates a surge in people teetering on the brink of famine – which has risen from 34 million projected at the beginning of the year to 41 million projected as of June – it’s vital that the world steps forward to support the most vulnerable.
WFP refugee operations impacted by funding shortages:
Chad: New refugee influxes from Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) mean WFP may be forced to implement ration cuts and suspend/prioritize activities that will affect vulnerable groups depending on WFP’s support, particularly malnourished children.
Cameroon: WFP may be required to reduce the food rations for the most vulnerable beneficiaries, including 70,000 Nigerian and 100,000 CAR refugees.
Democratic Republic of Congo: In 2021, WFP has supported about 148,000 camp-based refugees in DRC, including the recent influx of about 92,000 refugees from CAR. Since May 2020, WFP DRC has been applying an average of 25% ration cuts to its refugee assistance programme.
East Africa: Funding shortfalls have forced ration cuts for over 3 million refugees of up to 60%. Rations were cut by 50% in South Sudan, 40% in Uganda and Kenya, 23% in Djibouti, 16% in Ethiopia and 8% in Rwanda.
Malawi: Under its refugee response, WFP Malawi rolled out cash-based transfers and kick-started livelihood support activities to enhance self-reliance for refugees. However, funding shortfalls have led to a 25% ration cut since July 2020.
Republic of Congo: WFP provides assistance to more than 20,000 refugees from CAR. Significant shortfalls have meant that food distribution cycles have been irregular.
Syria Refugee Regional: In the five countries where WFP supports Syrian refugees, USD 408 million is required for the next six months.
- In Jordan, at least 21,000 refugees will no longer receive WFP’s food assistance starting 1 July. If no additional funding materializes, WFP will have to cut off an additional 242,000 refugees at the end of August. Around 220,000 extremely vulnerable refugees in camps and communities will continue to receive WFP support through September.
- In Egypt, WFP – through joint targeting with UNHCR – is looking at prioritizing assistance to 110,000 people, reducing the number of beneficiaries by 20,000.
Tanzania: The WFP refugee operation faced significant funding shortfalls leading to ration cuts of up to 32 percent of the minimum calorie requirement since December 2020. Photos available here.
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