To Mitigate Disaster, Contingency Planning Must Be Ongoing Activity – Adeniyi

Following the prediction by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), that high level of flood will occur many States this year, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF’s officer on emergency,
Mr. Olusoji Adeniyi, in an interview with CHIOMA UMEHA, discusses emergencies in the country, contingency planning, challenges and preparedness. Excerpts
What can you classify as a hazard and how do you determine the risk as well as vulnerability?
Hazard is a natural or human-induced event that can potentially trigger a disaster and examples are: earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, drought, gully erosion, resource competition and conflict.
What is considered as the risk is the likelihood of a disaster happening to a particular group of people. The risk can be estimated by frequency and severity of a hazard when combined with vulnerability and capacity of people to meet that hazard.
The susceptibility of people and things to be damaged by a hazard: a person or group’s vulnerability depends on their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a hazard.
Can you list types of hazards?
Hazards can be subdivided into two – Rapid onset and slow onset. Volcano, windstorm and drought are natural disaster, while plane crash, flood, landslides/ gully erosions, epidemic, famine can be both natural and human induced disaster. However, terrorist attack, chemical spill or toxic waste, militancy or war and civil unrest are human induced disaster.
Can you list the emergency response mechanisms institutions in Nigeria?
The emergency response mechanisms in Nigeria include: National Emergency Relief Agency (NERA) which was established by Decree No 48 of 1976. In 1993, NERAs mandate expanded to accommodate disaster management (Decree no 119 amended)
The National Conference on Disaster and Crisis Management in 1997, while National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was established by Decree No 12 of 1999.
In 2001, the First National Disaster Response Plan was developed, while National Search and Rescue (SAR) and Epidemic Evacuation Plan (EEP) took place in 2008.
National Disaster Management Framework (NDMF) was developed in 2010.
Who are the emergency response mechanisms stakeholders in Nigeria?
The stakeholders of emergency response mechanisms are: National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA); State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs); Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs); National Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC); the Federal and state fire services
Others are: Civil –Military Relations Unit (FMoD); National Commission for Refugees; Federal Road Safety Commission; Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (FMoH) and Special Climate Change Unit (FMoEv).
The humanitarian actors are the Nigerian Red Cross Society; Médecins Sans Frontières; Catholic Relief Services/National Caritas; Hamadiya Muslim Mission; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Save the Children (UK); Water-aid (UK) and Oxfam(UK). The rest are: ECOWAS; Action Against Hunger; United Nations agencies and donor countries like Japan, Denmark etc.
What is contingency planning?
Contingency planning is a tool to anticipate and solve problems that typically arise during humanitarian response.
There are three levels in disaster management planning including Institutional Plans, Disaster Response Plans, Contingency Plans and SOPs.
Contingency planning are based on specific events or known risks at local, national, regional or even global levels (e.g. earthquakes, floods or disease outbreaks), and establish operational procedures for response, based on anticipated resource requirements and capacity.
It involves analysing potential emergencies, for example; due to meteorological predictions, many parts of the country is at risk of large scale flooding this year.
It also analyses potential impact. For instance; Up to 800,000 people may be displaced from their homes and 50 per cent of domestic crop production would be wiped out.
Contingency planning establishes clear objectives and strategies, for example: Maintaining people on their land and in their homes or moving them to a safe terrain as well as protecting the most fertile crop lands.
Contingency planning implements preparedness actions. It raises public awareness of preventive measures; distribute emergency supplies in high risk areas and create water diversion channels.
Walk the audience through the phases of contingency planning. The animation gives a simple example of contingency planning. 
Why contingency plan?
There are many good reasons why contingency plan should be developed.
Contingency plan should be developed to deal with anticipated problems before the onset of a crisis and put in place measures that enhance preparedness.
Contingency plan should be developed to establish relationships with partners; develop shared understanding of common challenges; clarify roles and responsibilities and strengthen coordination mechanisms.
Developing contingency plan helps to identify constraints to effective response actions and focus on operational issues.
Who do you involve in contingency plan?
Contingency planning should involve relevant stakeholders, communities, local, State, national, international levels and the United Nations (UN). 
When is it ideal to plan and where should contingency focus?
Contingency planning (CP) is an ongoing activity and it should be updated regularly to ensure relevance.
Unlike response planning that is for a range of threats or hazards, CP is for specific emerging or anticipated disaster event. Contingency plans should target communities, local, State, national, international levels and the UN.
What are the steps for developing contingency plan?
This should include: Hazard identification and risk analysis; summary of the hazards and impact on geographical areas; scenarios and planning assumptions.
Developing contingency plan should also include: Brief summary of agreed scenarios and planning assumptions that define the parameters of the contingency plan; humanitarian needs that is number of people, capacities, operational constraints.
Developing contingency plan should take into consideration of early warning/triggers.It should also identify potential early warning (EW) signs that can result into proposed scenarios. 
What are the qualities of a good contingency plan?
A good contingency plan should: Be comprehensive, but not too detailed; find a balance between flexibility and concrete plans
A good contingency plan should also provide guidance and direction on the intention of agencies and how to proceed; be well-structured, easy to read, and easy to update.
A good contingency plan should serve as layout of what will be done, by whom and by when. 
Can you summarise the major highlights of a good contingency plan?
A good contingency plan identifies and analyses potential emergencies (threats) and their humanitarian impact and prioritises potential emergencies according to risk.
It develops appropriate contingencies, including establishing goals, setting objectives, policies and procedures to deal with prioritised potential emergencies.
Agood contingency plan ensures necessary preparedness measures and that follow-up actions are taken, including training, exercises, regular reviews and update.