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WACA donates flood water pumping machines worth over D4.2M

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By Olimatou Coker

The West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA), a project under MECCNAR, has on Tuesday donated flood water pumping machines worth over 4.2 million dalasis to NDMA, KMC and BAC.

The handing over ceremony was held at the WACA project office in Pipeline.

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The  34 flood water pumping machines donated are meant to support the National Disaster Management Agency, Kanifing Municipal Council and Brikama Area Council to effectively respond to and manage floods around the Kotu Stream and beyond.

The pumps are intended to be deployed to flooded communities to help pump water out of homes during inundations. The pumps comprise 30 small machines with a capacity to pump 6000 liters of water in an hour.

According  to officials, these machines will be distributed to communities along the Kotu Stream through their ward councilors. Four heavy-duty machines with a capacity to pump more than 500,000 liters of water in an hour will be distributed to NDMA (2) and KMC and BAC each one.

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The machines were procured as part of the short-term interventions of the WACA Project which also involves the clearing of the entire length of the 11.2 km Kotu Stream of waste, silt, and vegetation, clearing of illegal waste dumps and clearing of more than 3.0 kilometers of drains connecting to the stream.

Masanneh Landing Ceesay, the M&E specialist at WACA Project, said the pumping machines come in varying sizes – 30 portable pumps with a capacity to pump 60,000 liters of water in an hour for the 11 communities along the Stream and four heavy-duty machines with a capacity to pump 522,000 liters of water in an hour: two for the National Disaster Management Agency and one each for KMC and Brikama Area Council.

“The portable machines will be distributed to communities through their ward councilors who will take custody of the machines and manage them. Community volunteers will be trained by the project to operate and maintain the pumps. We have also developed an Operationalization Protocol to serve as a guide for the deployment, use and maintenance of the machines.

The delivery of these flood water pumping machines is part of our short-term interventions that also include the clearing of the entire length of the stream of waste and vegetation, clearing of the numerous illegal dump sites along the stream and 3 kilometers of drains connected to the stream. We are also desilting the stream – removing sand sedimentation to enhance the easy flow of water and prevent the stream from overflowing into homes. Work is currently ongoing, and I invite you all to visit the stream and monitor the progress,” he explained.

All these flood risk mitigation measures are a direct response to the appeals of communities and local authorities during our extensive consultations with our stakeholders and community engagements in our project intervention area.

“We have been thinking and planning ahead. In the next few days, we will be working with the National Disaster Management Agency to kick off a robust communication and community engagement campaign on early warning systems, disaster risk management and resilience building targeting vulnerable communities along the Kotu Stream and beyond.”

Ebrima Jawara, the Permanent Secretary at MECCNAR, explained that WACA project represents a collaborative effort among 9 West.

African nations, supported by the World Bank, to address the challenges of flooding, coastal erosion, and climate change and build the resilience of communities. In The Gambia, the project is focused on restoring and reprofiling the Kotu Stream and strengthening national politics and institutions.

He said these machines are meant to bring relief to communities. “Therefore, operators of the machines must take extra precautions, to ensure that when water is pumped out of homes and communities, it is emptied into waterways, to avoid inundating other places. To facilitate this, the project has recently been clearing all major drains linked to the stream.

“As part of the physical investments, the project will aiso construct standard drainage systems in several places along the Kotu Stream, to minimize the risk of flooding. WACA will also work with the National Roads Authority, to develop national drainage standards, a crucial step towards reducing flooding and damage to our roads”.

He also said they will continue to implement the laws, policies and strategies, that help protect and preserve our natural resources.

Sanna Dahaba, the Executive of NDMA and Yankuba Darbo, the Chairman of BAC, both thanked the WACA project and partners for the support,  while saying that the machines will help them a lot especially in this rainy season.

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