(Thursday 17 October 2019 Issue)
Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), with support from the United Nations, WFP,
ChildFund and The Gambia Government, Sunday joined the rest of the world in
observing International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The day is set aside to promote global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness as well as serve as an opportunity to acknowledge the progress made towards reducing disaster risk, lives loss and livelihoods.
The day also reflects on how people and communities are coping with disasters through the use of their own resources, awareness amongst others.
This year’s theme is: Target D of the Sendai Framework: “Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and education facilities through developing their resilience strategies by 2030.
Serign Modou Joof, deputy executive director at NDMA in his remarks said his office will continue to work with partner institutions to address the short and medium term needs of those affected, consider the root causes and try to address them.
Mr. Joof pointed out that The Gambia was among the first countries to make the first reporting on the Sendai Monitor on the seven global targets, adding that these efforts have contributed immensely to the reduction of disasters despite challenges.
He went on to say that despite all these efforts, NDMA still faces numerous challenges in terms of resources to implement its programs in achieving the national and international frameworks in the wake of reducing the impacts of disasters of all forms.
Malang Jammeh, Deputy Permanent Secretary Minister of Transport, Work and Infrastructure commended NDMA for being proactive to promote disaster risk management as well as described the day as a lesson to Gambians especially youth, that they have a key role to play in disaster risk reduction.
He said the frequency and destructive impact of disasters on our society continue to increase today as hundreds of millions of people live at risk from the threat of several natural and human induced disasters including rainstorms and floods, droughts, fires, social conflicts and road accident.
He stated that the need to build our resilience and reduce the vulnerability of our society has become more crucial than ever, saying the major cause of vulnerability in this country has been indiscipline in our construction practices as people build in water ways, throw rubbish anywhere including water bodies therefore blocking free flow of streams and also bring about diseases leading to death.
He called on youth of The Gambia is stand up and live above the indiscipline they have inherited and strive to help this generation turn things around for a brighter future.
Wanja Kaaria, World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Country Director said the Gambia is no exception to experiencing recurrent disasters both natural and human induced disaster over the past years.
“Disasters are gateways to poverty and distress for many vulnerable people living in low and middle-income countries, including The Gambia,’’ she stated.