Crr — The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) Wednesday held a two-day sensitisation workshop for members of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Central River Region (CRR) on the National Disaster Management Agency Act 2008 in Janjangbureh.
The UNDP country office funded the sensitisation workshop. The topics discussed during the sensitisation included; institutional context for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in The Gambia, Disaster Management Cycle, role of NGOs in DRR, introduction to sphere and the emergency context and establishment of Regional Disaster Technical Advisory Group.
Addressing the participants on behalf of the regional governor, the deputy governor, Alhaji Malang Saibo Camara, said in recent years the world has witnessed interminable succession of disasters such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes, epidemics, and civil conflicts that have caused many thousands of lives, material loss and inflicted a terrible toll on developing countries in particular, where gruesome disasters have diverted attention and resources desperately needed to escape from poverty.
He said that given this background scenario, one can understand the rationale behind the Gambia government's zeal and avowed commitment to bring to the forefront the integration of disaster management and risk reduction into national development policies and programmes.
Camara called on the TAC members to take up the forum seriously as they are the heads of their institutions. He seized the opportunity to render his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the UNDP country office for their immeasurable support to NDMA.
The Regional Disaster Management coordinator, Bubacarr Fofana, revealed that in May 1996, the Gambia Government launched the Vision 2020 national policy document for the period 1996-2020. He said that through the document, the government declared its will and commitment to initiate disaster relief strategies and programmes to combat and alleviate the cost of disasters when they occur.
He reiterated that this policy commitment necessitated the establishment of the National Disaster Management Committee under the Office of the Vice President, to coordinate and direct disaster relief and resettlement activities in the country.
Fofana asserted that the Gambia government has since acknowledged the complex nature of disaster issues, adding that in this regard a strong consensus to develop an integrated and effective disaster mitigation office with clear legal authority to undertake a revised method of disaster planning was given the needed attention.
He explained that it is against this backdrop that the government launched a disaster strategy appeal to UNDP for formulation of an effective policy and legal framework to develop institutions that will manage and coordinate disaster-related issues in an efficient manner both at national and local levels.