A research conducted in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, has alerted on the increasing cases of premature deaths in the city arising from everyday hazards.
The research, conducted by Urban Africa Risk Knowledge (Urban Ark), was made public on Tuesday in Ibadan at a project dissemination meeting.
The Urban ARK Ibadan is a three-year research and capacity building programme which seeks to open up and apply research and policy agenda for risk management in urban Sub-Sahara Africa.
The team leader of Urban Ark Ibadan, Ibidun Adelekan, said “everyday hazards and small disasters have significant cumulative impacts on urban population and it, therefore, requires as much attention as large disaster such as floods.’’
Mr Adelekan noted that from the year 2000 to 2015, different risks and small hazards including road traffic accidents, crime, violence and floods accounted for the largest number of premature deaths and injuries in Ibadan city based on their research findings.
“Key drivers of vulnerability to urban risks in Ibadan include city governance, inadequate public financing of social services, and regional planning and environmental development sectors.
“Others are inequality in access to infrastructure, basic social services, increasing urban poverty and unemployment,’’ the Urban Ark team leader said.
Mr Adelekan said the research relied on data from secondary sources including newspaper articles, hospital records and from the local government councils in the city.
She also highlighted some of the challenges in assessing records or data of disaster risks in Ibadan with the most important identified as data limitations.
According to Mr Adelekan, data is either not available or incomplete such as non-continuous record keeping and inadequate data storage.
The Urban ARK team leader further stated that there are ripple effects associated with everyday hazards.
The don asserted that there was no targeted policy to prevent and reduce the impacts of natural and environmental hazards as well as physical and health risks in the city.
A team member, Ezebunwa Nwokocha, a professor, who spoke on institutional responses to disasters in Ibadan, said that population explosion without a city expansion frame work, lack of strict enforcement of building code among others were responsible for disasters in Ibadan.
“The best approach is to avoid acts capable of leading to disasters in the first place.
“It is also important to identify specific institutions charged with specific risk reduction responsibility in order to direct requests appropriately and communities must be educated.
“Building synergies between and among institutions and communities is critical for achieving quick responses to risks in Ibadan.
“Government should have the political will to address environmental issues frontally especially those that relate to disaster resulting from negligence as well as to ensure the channel of communication between institutions and neighbourhoods is fluid and open,” he said.
Another member of the team, Femi Olaniyan, who spoke on the roles of local governments in disaster risk reduction, said that it was critical to re-position local governments for risk reduction activities.
“It is necessary to decentralise responsibilities and resources to local governments and give them the autonomy to manage disaster with minimal interference.
“This should provide them with the authority, responsibility and resources to make decisions and implement practical risk reduction actions.
“A policy that will ensure that community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is institutionalised into local governance in Ibadan is necessary,” Olaniyan said.
He advocated for Local Emergency Management Agency (LEMA) at the local government level playing a central role in coordinating and sustaining the platform.
In his remarks, Waheed Gbadamosi, the Director-General, Oyo State Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control, said the bureau was ready to give necessary technical support to ensure implementation of the research outcome.
“The present state government is one that values knowledge sharing and exchange of ideas which are crucial to promoting sustainable development of the state by creating an environment that is safe, healthy, physically, efficient, aesthetically pleasing and economically viable for all and sundry.
“In the past six years the state has been giving priority attention to measures that would strengthen the various institutional structures aimed at risk reduction, preparedness, response and awareness,” he said.
Oyeronke Odunola, the Director, Research Management Office, University of Ibadan, who represented the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Idowu Olayinka, said the institution was poised to meet societal needs through research activities to bring long-lasting impact on the society through successful translation of the research output.