By Aisha Tamba
World Food Programme last week equipped the National Disaster Management Agency with two vehicles to support its efforts in responding to Covid-19 in The Gambia.
The Toyota Prado and Toyota Hilux (double cabin) were handed over to the NDMA officials at its head office in Kanifing.
NDMA is the central body for disaster management in the The Gambia, hosting the national Covid-19 Coordination Unit that is bringing all relevant stakeholders in a harmonised and integrated approach. Part of their task is to coordinate the national Covid-19 response, develop a strategy and an operational plan that will help in building resilience and reduce any short, medium-and long-term and negative impact of Covid-19 in the country as well strengthen the capacity of the agency.
NDMA executive director Sanna Dahaba said the agency has been faced with a number of challenges at its inception which include lack of adequate resources to use in its operations especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The assistance and partnership with WFP are making a big difference in addressing the constraints and equipping the Agency in responding to the impact of Covid-19 in the country,” he acknowledged.
The WFP country representative Wanja Kaaria, recalled that the partnership between the NDMA and World Food Programme has been more than 12 years now.
“It has been WFP mandate to strength the capacity of the NDMA and we ever so committed to work with the executive director to enhance the effectiveness and to have greater efficiency of the NDMA.”
She added that the world food programme is also the UN lead in disaster risk management within the UN portfolio in The Gambia, noting that WFP embodied key values and principles to safeguard the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), while making sure that NDMA has the capacity and the ability to lead in DRR issues.
Dawda Cessay, permanent secretary of the office of the vice president, thanked the WFP for their kind gesture, saying that the donation of the vehicles has come at the right moment with the gravity of food distribution.
“We did underestimate the gravity of the food aid distributions and not to talk about the other aspects, it was a nightmare. We have realized that in terms of logistics, vehicles were in short, fundings were short because the vulnerability has expanded so great that even the middle-class income earners are now becoming more vulnerable because of the economic consequences of the pandemic,” he explained.