By Awa B. Bah
The National Disaster Management Agency, NDMA, with funding from the Ecowas Division on Disaster Risk Reduction, on Monday 17 July 2017, opened a one day capacity building training for members of the National Platform on Coordination, Disaster Risk Reduction and Post Disaster Needs Assessment, at a local hotel in the Senegambia area.
The Chairman, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Platform, Alhagie Manjang, said the platform was launched seven years ago as a technical body to provide opportunities for members to support NDMA in its efforts to address needs associated with climate related hazards.
The training, he said, is very timely considering the continuous need for technical capacity in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, adding that mobilizing resources to implement national strategy on DRR, is one of the responsibilities of the platform. He said it is appropriate to use the opportunity to remind their partners in development, to include in their annual operational plan activities towards building resilience for the most vulnerable communities, assist people particularly women and children and disabled persons. Mr. Manjang expressed gratitude to the government of the Gambia for the enabling environment and Ecowas for providing funding to support Gambia’s efforts on DRR and in building resilient communities.
Vabah Kazaku Gayflor, the Ecowas representative, said the West Africa region has its fair share of the current global trends of natural and man-made disasters, resulting in serious humanitarian crises with considerable material loses in terms of internal displacement of people and refugees.
She pointed out that the region has also been categorized as the fastest growing area with a rapid rate of urbanization, leading to exposure to more risks and disasters, due to lack of coping capacities to face the fast pace of development and planning needs.
She revealed that Ecowas has been providing funding capacities in training member citizens of member states to be empowered with the relevant skills on disaster risk reduction, crisis management and response. With the early warning, she said the Ecowas Commission is working on coordination with relevant departments, member states and partners, in the process of developing an integrated functional disaster observatory and early warning systems for disaster prevention and management.
She urged all to contribute to the workshop to enable the concerns of the region to be reflected in the ftraining report and further thanked partners and the World Bank, for providing technical and financial support to the Ecowas.
Mr. Lamin Dibba, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, said the Gambia is vulnerable to a wide range of natural and human induced disasters, affecting several parts of the country simultaneously and called for a national approach to manage risks.
He said the situation of flooding as a result of climate change and its associated risks has increase in recent years, due to unregulated settlement patterns, poor drainage systems and human behavior; that if uncheck, it is expected to significantly affect the country and increase risks related to health, fire, agriculture and food security.
‘‘The government of the Gambia is aware of the current rainfall prediction by the department of water resources and this training will contribute to the realization of some objectives, responding to disaster needs as well as enhancing some of the Ecowas plan of action for 2015 to 2030,’’ he said.
He stated that the Government of the Gambia has recognized and appreciated the various technical and financial support rendered by Ecowas since the establishment of the platform and appreciates this through their delegation at this training.