#Editorial

On recent flash floods!

Aug 3, 2022, 11:03 AM

The recent flash floods that inundated most homes in the Greater Banjul Area and West Coast Region is a gentle reminder that climate change is real.

This unfortunate predicament has not only rendered many families homeless, but also destroyed a significant amount of foodstuffs and other valuable items.

It will be difficult to estimate the extent of damage caused as families count the cost of damage.

While the recovery operation gets underway, it is important for the government and private sector to chip in to make life bearable for some affected families.

Many philosophers agreed that disasters occur when hazards meet vulnerability. However, as a nation we must acknowledge that human-made components of both vulnerability and hazard are having a devastating toll on the population.

We need to act fast and put in contingency measures to proactively reduce disaster impacts.

Confronting some of these human induced disasters, The Gambia needs to revamp its Department of Physical Planning and also embark on aggressive urban planning.

We need serious overhauling of our urban planning sector and take a firm stance on those that need to relocate to new areas. The 'maslaha' approach will not work in this country. Government has to take the leadership role by pulling the bull by the horn.

We all know that people settling on waterways should be relocated to new areas and the government should not compromise on that.

This will not only cut down government spending supporting families affected by floods; instead would focus on providing vital services in the country. 

Going round some of the affected neighborhoods, one would safely conclude some of the affected families settled in waterways.

It is a fact that The Gambia, like most countries on the West Coast, are vulnerable to disasters in view of the country’s low topography. However, this vulnerability largely (to some extent) is a product of social and political processes that include elements of power and poor governance.

We must however commend the presidency and team for going out to visit and inspect some of the affected areas and to commiserate with families most of whom are now counting the cost. The move is not only timely, but one in the right direction.

It is high time the government overhauls the Department of Physical Planning by taking firm decisions to relocate all who need to be relocated rather than spending millions of dalasis on the recovery process.

The country also needs a standard drainage system. This would not only limit the impact of future disasters, but would also help greatly in our urban settings.

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