16 October 2017

Gambia: NDMA Celebrates Disaster Risk Reduction Day

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), under the Office of the Vice-President over the weekend celebrated International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction.

The day is each year celebrated on 13 October worldwide and the theme for this year's celebration was entitled, "home safe home reducing exposure reducing displacement."

The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is celebrated each year to promote the culture of disaster reduction, prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

The Governor of Lower River Region attended the event, held at Jarra in Soma Lower River Region, together with the chiefs of the area and the Minister of Environment, who represented the Vice-President.

In his remarks at the occasion, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Hon. Lamin Dibba said that The Gambia was vulnerable to a range of natural and human induced disasters; hence a national approach to managing risk was appropriate and necessary.

He said that as the country's population grows, they have experienced an increased in the frequency, magnitude and impact of extreme weather conditions, such as drought and flood.

"Many waste products like glass, plastics, aluminum and paper could be recycled instead of being disposed off in the dustbin," he pointed out, adding that this would prevent any air pollution accumulated through burning of these products.

"You can use towels and reusable bags rather than using disposal plastic bags that can block our water way, leading to flooding and consequent displacement of individuals and communities," he explained.

According to the Minister, planting of food locally helps in reducing the overall commercial transportation of food items that required pesticides and preservatives to preserve them.

"It is also proven fact that organic food is more sustainable that the one which is preserved using harmful pesticides and chemicals, thereby causing harm to the entire global ecosystem," he said.

The Governor of LRR, Madam Fanta Samateh Bojang, disclosed that the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has put in place a good number of measures that include, among others, developed crucial policy programmes, all gearing towards addressing disaster preparedness, response and mitigation.

She said through effective coordination, collaboration, sensitisation and advocacy, the communities would be fully informed about the dangers associated with disasters.

The Executive Director of NDMA, Sanna Dahaba, also said that Home Safe Home is the slogan for this year's celebration, adding that this was an opportunity to mobilise the world to strengthen collaboration with all stakeholders.

"We can reduce the risks that stem from rapid urbanisation, poverty, environmental deterioration and climate change," he pointed out, adding that they need to avoid the creation of risks in the first place.

This, he further added, would require massive sensitisation, increased access to risk information and ability to identify community risks and building a culture of collective actions to improve resilience.


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