‘Gambia most vulnerable to climate change, natural disaster’


Speaking yesterday at a validation workshop on Local Hazards And Risk Zoning Report, and North Bank Region District Hazard Mapping, as part of activities marking the World Disaster day, Ms Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, UNDP said: “I think from the speeches given so far, it is clear that The Gambia is actually one of the most vulnerable to climate change and environment related natural disasters. The other thing is that The Gambia has a wide river mouth that drains into the Atlantic Ocean with a Sahelian climate that is characterised by swings in climatic conditions. 

“The almost flat terrain of which 20% of the land is silt plain and the fact that the Gambia is in the belt for malaria and meningitis actually makes the country prone to coastal erosion, floods, drought,  bushfire, disease outbreak, and impact of climate change. Coupled with these, the high level of poverty, regional and social inequalities reduced the capacity of the country to cope and manage disaster. It is therefore important to build evidence-based local hazard and risk data to help enhance early warning systems, and the management of disaster risk and facilitation of humanitarian assistance. Today we are here to review the work done by NDMA to strengthen local disaster risk management and humanitarian response systems.  This is what The Gambia needs. We are here to look at the document critically, review every page and word to ensure that they provide the requisite for building a strong foundation for local hazard, risk and adaptation data collection at national and local level. We need this most at the local level because this is where our communities suffer most when they are hit by disaster. Because they are already poor, they have little means of survival and that is why we need to have a data to be able to really strengthen our early warning system, develop some resilience within these communities to be able to cope to with disaster and it can be done if there is capacity both at the community, regional and national level. The three have to go together otherwise there will be a gap and you don’t need a gap in something like this.” 

The event was organised by the National Disaster Management Agency in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel.


The executive director of NDMA, Lt Colonel Alagie Sanneh said: “It is very clear that disaster and development partners in The Gambia need local hazard and risk data information to facilitate sustainable development in the country. It is based on that premise that NDMA decided to develop local hazard, risk and adaptation data collection guidelines. The document provides an informative introduction on local disaster risk management and people’s exposure to disaster at the local level.”

The Minister of health and Social Welfare, Dr Omar Sey and Madam Agnes Guillaud, head of European Union Delegation also made statements.