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City of Banjul
Friday, September 25, 2020

Disaster management

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The rains are here again! In the rainy season, a lot of blessings are experienced in the form of rain which brings harvests for survival. But in addition to these blessings, the rains also come with a lot of disadvantages. Due to the volume of water which inundates us sometimes, a lot of destruction is caused.

 

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In the past few days, a lot of destruction has been experienced in the country by many people. Many houses have been destroyed, properties damaged and many people have lost their homes thus becoming internally displaced (IDPs).

What is interesting is that in many of the places where houses are destroyed, everyone is always expecting it. These houses are poorly constructed and poorly located. If a house is built in a flood prone area, naturally people should expect such a house to collapse in the rainy season.

 

 

Why do we have to wait until the houses are destroyed and hundreds become homeless before we remember and talk about the National Disaster Management Agency? These people (NDMA) will then react and give some relief to the affected people. They visit the site of destruction and assess the damage, then give some assistance. But this is mostly too little too late.

 

 

The saying that ‘prevention is better than cure’ comes to mind. We need to have solid and feasible plans for both the short and long term. There should be proper planning of the residential areas. The Department of Physical Planning should work with the National Disaster Management Agency to ensure that people do not construct houses in disaster prone areas. Perhaps this will help reduce the damage and loss of property experienced every year.

 

 

The National Disaster Management Agency should be empowered more by the government so that they can be more proactive in the management of disasters when the rainy season comes. Sensitisations should also be conducted and if need be, even evacuate people before the heavy rains begin.

Remember that the destruction does not only cause damage to property and houses but also causes trauma to the affected people.

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