By Momodou Jawo
Musukuta Badjie, Action Aid International The Gambia program manager has stated that this year alone in The Gambia over 24, 000 individuals have been affected either by floods or windstorm.
“And a country that has a population of almost 1.9 million people this is alarming, thus there is need for people to have information on preparedness, response and even mitigation. The more information people have the more aware they are and the more responses they get when disaster strikes,” she added.
She was speaking at the Red Cross conference hall during the Agro-Ecology working group meeting on International Day for Disaster Reduction. The working group aims to facilitate networking and collaboration among various partners to identify synergies that will result in maximizing impact/long term.
Since the formation of the working group in 2015, Mrs. Badjie stated, they have been meeting quarterly, however, she was quick to assert that all of sudden it was slow. “I think it is high time with occurrence of event in the country, we try to revitalise the working group and see how best to meet the key objectives, one of which is to collaborate on areas relating to agro-ecology and resilience,” she posited.
“As we commemorate international day of disaster, let us reflect as a country and let us reflect as a people on how we really work with communities to ensure that they are prepared and respond when disaster strikes.”
For his part, the deputy director of National Disaster Management Agency Serign Modou Joof said agro-ecology has a direct connection with our lives and livelihoods. He said it is quite necessary for us to rethink on our current attitude and behaviours toward the management and handling of our environment.
NDMA, he added, is very cognizant of the current happening and is trying to partner with institutions such as Action Aid to make sure that communities are capacitised, with a view to enabling them mitigate, manage, build their resilience and to handle any eventuality that comes their way.
The working group, he went on, is quite pertinent in the entire crusade, thus the need to join it at the national platform through the governing council which is highest decision making body where policies are derived from.
Mr. Joof thus called for the immediate revitalization of the thematic working group. “It is unfortunate in The Gambia we are very good in getting institution or getting some committees, thus the beginning is quite impressive but later it dies off,” he remarked.