By Isatou Jawara
The National Disaster Management Agency under the office of the Vice President has recently celebrated international day of disaster risk reduction which is celebrated 13 October each year worldwide.
The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘home safe home; reducing exposure, reducing displacement’.
The day is celebrated each year to promote the culture of disaster reduction, prevention, mitigation and preparedness. The event was celebrated at Jarra Soma Lower River Region and was attended by the Governor of Lower River Region, the Chiefs and the Minister of Environment who represented the Vice President.
While delivering his opening remarks, the environment Minister Lamin Dibba, said: “The Gambia is vulnerable to a range of natural and human induced disasters and since many events affect several parts of the country simultaneously, a national approach to managing risk is appropriate and necessary.
“As the country’s population grows, we have experienced an increased in the frequency, magnitude and the impact of extreme weather events such as drought and flood.
“Many waste products like glass, plastics, aluminum and paper can be recycled instead of been disposed off in the dustbin. This will prevent any air pollution accumulated on burning these products. You can use towels and reusable bags rather than using disposal plastic bags that can block our water way thus leading to flooding and consequent displacement of individuals and communities.”
According to the Minister, planting of food locally helps in reducing the overall commercial transportation of food items that requires pesticides and preservatives.
“These preservatives directly pollute the air. It is also proven facts that organic food is more sustainable that the one which is preserved using harmful pesticides and chemicals thereby causing harm to the entire global ecosystem.”
The Governor of LRR Madam Fanta Samateh Bojang also speaking at the event, said: “The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has put in place quite a good number of measures which include among others, developed crucial policies all geared towards addressing disaster preparedness, response and mitigation.
“Through effective coordination, collaboration,, sensitization and advocacy, the communities will be fully informed about dangers associated with disasters and will also take measures to build resilience and better coping strategies to ensure a safe home for themselves.”
The executive director of NDMA Mr Sanna Dahaba also said: “We need to avoid the creation of risks in the first place. This will require massive sensitization, increase access to risk information and ability to identify community risks and building a culture of collective actions to improve resilience.”