The NDMA as the central body for disaster management in The Gambia is hosting the national Covid-19 coordination unit that is bringing in relevant stakeholders in a harmonized and integrated approach. Part of their task is to coordinate national Covid-19 response, develop a strategy and an operational plan that will help in building resilience and reduce any short, medium, long-term and negative impact of Covid-19 in the country as well as strengthen the capacity of the agency.
Sanna Dahaba, NDMA’s executive director said his office has been facing challenges since its inception, citing lack of adequate resources (both human and financial) for operation especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Dahaba added that the assistance and partnership with WFP is making a big difference in addressing their constraints and equipping the agency in responding to the impacts of Covid-19 in The Gambia.
He commended WFP for their support and guidance in ensuring government preparedness and response level against the impacts of Covid-19 dealing with health, humanitarian and socio-economic impacts.
Wanja Kaaria, WFP’s country representative said they are committed to working with NDMA in enhancing the effectiveness and greater efficiency of NDMA. She said their key support has been centered on strengthening capacities on disaster risk management, but also committed to the establishment of coordination bodies around early warning systems to ensure that NDMA has the capacity and ability to lead in DRR issues.
“Two of our strategic objectives are around strengthening government capacity as well as delivering, fostering, sustainability, efficiency, effectiveness and allow transition and ownership of the role we play that one day NDMA and government will be standing on their own,” she said.
Madam Kaaria stated that it’s hoped the vehicles will contribute to the enhancement of NDMA’s work especially in light of the current pandemic. She therefore urged them to make best use of the vehicles to enhance joint efforts towards national development.
“Lives can be changed and saved if we have the capacity to respond quickly, efficiently and effectively,” she noted.
She reaffirmed her office’s commitment to support Gambia government in the development of efforts aligned to the National Development Plan.
Dawda Ceesay, Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Vice President described the donation as timely, saying vulnerability has now expanded such that middle income earners are even becoming more vulnerable than before as a result of the economic consequences of Covid-19.
Mr. Ceesay thanked WFP for their continuous support and appealed to others to emulate them in ensuring vulnerable communities are protected.