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CU disburses over D183,000 to partners

Sep 30, 2010, 1:50 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The unprecedented and unusual heavy rains in The Gambia this year were predicted months ago before the rains started. Both national and international weather institutions warned of extreme weather conditions that could increase the "perpetual flood risk".

Concern Universal (CU), with support from Oxfam American, disbursed D183,875.00 to nine of their local partner organisations in Western Region, Kanifing Municipality and North Bank Region in 2010, CU Country Director for The Gambia and Senegal Patricia Wall revealed during an exclusive interview with The Point at her Fajara Office yesterday.

She gave a breakdown of the support given to their nine partners as follows: Wuli and Sandu Development Association (D18,250.00), Freedom From Hunger Campaign (D18, 250.00), Agency for Village Support (D18,250.00, Trust Agency for Rural Development (D18,250.00), Njawara Agricultural Training Centre (D28,750.00), Methodist Mission Agricultural Programme (D18, 250.00), St Joseph Family Farm Centre (D20,250.00), KMC (D36,750.00) and BCC NDMA/DMC equipment (D6, 875.00).

According to Patricia Wall, CU's actions are inspired by its improved efforts at weather forecast and proactive culture. "As a proactive development and humanitarian agency, CU activated its Contingency Plan (CP) in which the first action is to activate the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) as well as the assessment teams in order to orientate them to start gathering data from affected areas," Director Wall said.

She stated that as part of its preparedness plans, CU and its international partner, Oxfam America, started a project called "Enhancing Capacities in Disaster Preparedness".

Ms Wall explained: "This project is currently implementing activities such as construction of pit latrines, rehabilitation of water points, rehabilitation of seed stores (in four communities), environmental protection (tree planting and bush fire control), supporting KMC DMC in an advocacy exercise for the resettlement of flood plains dwellers, and increasing capacities of local partner organisations in disaster preparedness (training of 40 Disaster Management Actors took place well before the rains)."

She said the project, which is running for one year, secured funding of US $72,000 from Oxfam America.The CU director also revealed that the implementing partners are local partner organisations (including KMC, BCC and Regional DMCs) across the six regions of the country, she said, adding that CU's response is often based on the outcome of the assessment conducted by its partners across the country.

"This is then followed by the production of a situation report (sitreps) that is shared with local and international partners," she said. She asserted that each partner organisation is being asked to liaise with the National Disaster Management Agency for coordination and support in the assessment processes.

She further revealed that CU DRR Project Manager Ebou Faye is fully engaged with KMC DMC and is providing technical and logistical support, including a vehicle, for the assessment and relief efforts.

Director Wall also revealed that CU, in consultation with its donors for further response in the medium and long term, recently conducted a site visit to four flood-affected communities in the Kanifing Municipality and two communities in Western Region.

She added: "CU Provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to BCC DMC/ NDMA. Our main role will remain at coordination level and liaison with international partners."