By Tabora Bojang
The executive director of the National Disaster Management Agency Sanna Dahaba, has acknowledged the ‘commitment’ of the current political leadership in supporting his institution fulfil its mandate by inserting credible national response mechanisms and policies for effective and proficient responses to disasters.
Speaking at a two-day technical focus workshop on the situational analysis of disaster risk management in The Gambia, Dahaba said the Agency is ‘tirelessly’ working to reclaim its rightful position in development as its coordinating mechanisms were long abridged as a result of the ‘dictatorship’ that prevailed, and made it difficult for it to fulfil its legal mandate.
“Most of the Agency’s functions were hijacked at the highest level, so as a result, it weakened the NDMA coordination mechanisms, since there was little or no communication between NDMA and the stakeholders due to interference that led to where we are today,” Dahaba who became executive director last year, asserted.
“The political leadership is doing all what it takes to support NDMA achieve our mandate; allocating a new office and increasing our budget allocation for this year are clear manifestations.”
The director described disaster as a ‘cross cutting issue,’ and said without proper coordination mechanisms and framework, preventing or responding to it, is a big ask.
According to the former Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat, ADRS chief executive secretary, preparedness and emergency response to natural disasters is inadequate at the national level.
“This forces national governments to relocate funds in national budgets, when they are available, from essential development projects to crisis response.”
The NDMA currently benefits from a new project being jointly implemented by Ecowas and World Bank. It is designed to support the resilience of sub-Saharan countries to the impacts of natural disasters, climate change and reduce disaster risks.