By Olimatou Coker
The US Ambassador to The Gambia, Sharon L. Cromer on Monday visited The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) Headquarters and distributed some cash and some dignity items to flood victim families.
She was hosted at the Emergency Operation Center of the GRCS.
The dignity items donated to the flood victim’s family included mattress, bed sheets, towels, pads, hands sanitizer, buckets, detergent, and many more others
The USAID provided to The Gambia Red Cross Society USD 250,000 to support 757 households (over 6800 people) through Mobile Clinic Services, Shelter and Water, and Sanitation and Hygiene.
Through the services of Qmoney, families whose houses have been partially/completely damaged are being supported with cash to mend their damaged structures.
It could be recalled that from 30th and 31st July 2022, heavy spots of rain hit several regions of The Gambia, leading to widespread flooding. Some houses have been so severely affected that the occupants had to be evacuated to public buildings such as schools for safety.
However, data verification done by GRCS as of 24th August 2022 shows that 2,366 households (29,381 people) are affected so far, with damages to their shelters, food, and latrines.
Through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) support, IFRC ensured that immediate financial support is available for The Gambia Red Cross Society to respond to the needs of the affected families.
Despite the support provided, many vulnerable families affected by the extensive rains, resulting in flooding in multiple communities within the Greater Banjul Area and beyond still need support.
Speaking, Her Excellency Sharon L. Cromer, US Ambassador to The Gambia, said Red Cross standards are always high and therefore expressed delight in being associated with them. She also applauded the GRCS and NDMA for their partnership.
“I am pleased that our support will go to some of the most vulnerable Gambians and help lift them up and put them back on their feet.”
Alasan Senghore, Secretary General of The Gambia Red Cross Society said as Red Cross can act fast, adding that they have the human resources and human capital.
“We always want to reach the vulnerable people at the shortest possible time because we believe relief is not relieved if it comes late,” he stated.
“We need to look at not just the short term because disasters are here to stay especially with climate change,” he also said.
He thanked the European Union for funding their Operation Center through their Covid-19 response and NDMA for their leadership.
Sana Dahaba, Executive Director for the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) thanked the Government of The Gambia for creating the enabling environment for disaster governance in the country.
He pointed out that, The Gambia Red Cross Society has always been a dependable partner when it comes to disaster management and response.
Isatou Joof, deputy disaster risk management coordinator at The Gambia Red Cross Society in presenting data collected by GRCS on affected households said the support provided by the USAID will go a long way in strengthening their response and ensuring they reach more people. She assured them that the funds will be put to good use.
She added that they continue to provide psychosocial support through their health department, distributed First Aid Aqua Taps, did water decontamination, launched a Mobile Clinic, managed a temporal shelter in Banjul, provided hygiene kits to families, and conducted PGI sensitization, among others.