By Tabora Bojang
A new project jointly implemented by Ecowas and World Bank is set to support the resilience of sub-Saharan countries to the impacts of natural disasters, climate change and reduce disaster risks by offering national response mechanisms and policies for effective and efficient responses to disasters.
The National Disaster Management Agency, the national institution responsible disaster prevention and preparedness, yesterday hosted a technical focus group workshop to discuss amongst others the situational analysis of disaster risk management in The Gambia to support Ecowas member states capacity for disaster risks.
Executive director for the NDMA Sanna Dahaba said Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to the impact of natural disasters, extreme weather and climate variability and disease outbreaks.
Adding that such events have a “disproportionately negative impact on the most vulnerable people as they weaken economic growth, erode resilience and therefore increase the risk of political instability”.
He said the preparedness and emergency response to natural disasters is not adequate at the national level, which forces national governments to relocate funds in national budgets, when they are available, from essential development projects to crisis response.
Essa Khan, representative from the Ecowas project said the regional bloc have supported the NDMA in several ways which includes training of staff and partners, provision of partnership platforms and strengthening national policy processes towards a risk-informed and sensitive development.
“We are hopeful that this technical meeting will give us the opportunity to seriously deliberate on the current needs and priorities of the country to invest on the risk reduction. Especially through technology and early warning, promotion of the climate change adaptation in agriculture, health and infrastructure, adjustment or alignment of the national DRR laws and policies to the new international order.”
Binta Jabang, representative from the Office of the Vice President said National Disaster Management has called for global call-to-action for the commitment of the states to invest on disaster risk reduction and resilience building.
She said: “These commitments require our collective action and in a realistic sense, this must be spearheaded by states.in doing so, we must learn, adjust and be prepared to mainstream disaster risks reduction in every development initiative or program we start.’