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City of Banjul
Thursday, September 24, 2020

Re: Windstorm leaves village roofless in CRR

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The recent windstorm in Genji Wolof village in Saloum CRR north which has left many residents homeless is a great source of concern. Natural disasters are unavoidable and this windstorm which struck Central River Region is a cause for apprehension for authorities and the general public. This is because hundreds of people have been left without proper shelter. 

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In most disaster cases, valuable property and lives are lost which may further disrupt the overall development and progress of a society. Scientifically, though, a storm is formed when distinct air masses collide and produce what is often referred to as an updraft. The updraft results in moisture being pulled up into the atmosphere and circulation of clouds, thus causing a storm cloud to form.

There are consequences to this including food and water shortages. In the case of extensive flooding, for example, people may contract water-borne diseases that can eventually lead to death. People are also often displaced and made homeless because of damages to their homes, and may be broken up if the area is not rebuilt. Many suffer from stress due to loss of possessions and housing. There may also be looting of domestic and commercial property. People may lose their jobs if they work in an industry that has been badly affected. If insurance premiums rise in the future, some people may not be able to afford them and will consequently not be financially protected against future disasters.

A huge amount of water is often released in a tropical storm so there will be extensive flooding and some people might get stranded due to flooding. This will cause trauma. It may further lead to the damage of sewerages. This can portend the spread of communicable diseases. There will be structural damage to buildings and they may have to be pulled down and rebuilt. This is very costly financially. Other buildings may have broken windows, chimneys etc. Roads and other infrastructure such as railways may be destroyed. This can lead to communication problems. Electricity lines might be blown down and, as a result, people could be without power supply. Sensitive ecosystems may be destroyed and plant and animal habitats lost. Sea fish are often killed because of silting, and freshwater fish may be killed in storm surges. Fishing boats and other craft may be damaged. Crops and livestock may be damaged or destroyed. Mudslides become common because the soil is saturated. They will flow quickly down hillsides and may bury houses, crops and livestock or even people.

Due to high levels of poverty that most people in the rural parts of Africa have to face in general and The Gambia in particular ;there is not enough money for the overwhelming majority of people to construct sturdy enough shelters for protection from the vagaries of weather .African governments must then make greater use of new found economic growth engendered by increased investment from China and India to haul millions of its indigent citizens out of poverty.It is a shame that Africa remains the poorest continent in the world despite being the richest in terms of resources.Our God-endowed resources will be meaningless until and unless it is used to emanicipate, our poorest people from mental and material poverty.

Therefore, in view of the afore-mentioned dangers, we should embark on more preventive actions to avoid floods. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

 

Musa Jallow 

Farato

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