The visit gave insight on the level of response provided to the windstorm affected families and the impact of the support.
According to the Director of Programmes and Operations, Mr. Abdoulie Fye, the July Windstorm affected lots of lives and livelihoods across the country particularly within the North Bank Region. “Immediately the disaster occurred, The Gambia Red Cross Society responded by deploying teams of staff and volunteers on the ground to respond to the needs of the affected families and provide humanitarian services in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Red Cross”.
Fye emphasized that the GRCS strategy is to always respond as rapidly and as effectively as possible, by mobilising resources, and using their network in a coordinated manner so that the initial effects of the windstorm are countered and the needs of the affected communities are met.
The National Society later applied for DREF from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to mobilise resources and put the affected people back into their houses. An amount of 13 Million was approved to support 505 households across the country with Shelter and Food through an Unconditional Cash Transfer Assistance Programme, and other interventions within the response.
During the monitoring visit, the beneficiaries expressed delight and appreciation to the Board and Management emphasising on the timely intervention of the support. Many homes were completely destroyed, some partially damaged due to the windstorm and in some communities beneficiaries have started moulding blocks to erect their destroyed houses and roofing for those whose roofs have been completely blown off.
Other project sites were also visited within the 8 days field visit. Examples are the Youth Ecobrigade trees planted in North Bank Region and the Peace Building Fund Projects in 10 communities within North Bank, Central River and Upper River Regions of The Gambia. The Gambia Red Cross and its partners has planted more than 124,000 trees within the last two months. Few other project sites were also visited where The Gambia Red Cross Society and Partners are drilling boreholes in URR and CRR.
Mr. Jato S. Sillah, President of GRCS Board explained that the reasons why the country was severely hit by the windstorm is largely contributed by man. “Deforestation and bush burning has really affected our forest cover and this is why when the windstorm came, there were no trees to serve as wind breakers”. Jato encouraged people to instill the habit of tree growing and contribute to mitigating the effects of Climate Change.
The team also met with the Governors and Deputy Governors in their Regions. Discussions were more focused on the work The Gambia Red Cross Society is doing within the Regions through its networks.