By Louise Jobe
Sanna Dahaba, Executive Director of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), Wednesday held a press briefing at the Agency’s head office in Kanifing South.
The purpose of the press briefing is to shed light on information they received which indicates that some partners and organisations who have started responding to affected communities in the recent windstorm disaster across the country, are not passing through their Agency.
According to Dahaba the Agency has already spent D7.1 million dalasi in 2018/2019, to support windstorm disaster victims in URR and CRR; that the UNDP provided food security and training to support 8,000 farmers; that the FAO also supported 11,000 farmers across the country with various kinds of seeds for the cropping season.
According to Dahaba, the Agency registered forty three thousand, two hundred and forty two disaster victims with various hazards since last year; that the agency through Government of the Gambia, provided four million dalasi to support nine hundred and forty four households and eight thousand, eight hundred and eighty four victims across the country; that in addition to the recent windstorms last month, Government took the lead to provide support and relief aid to the recent windstorm disaster victims.
Dahaba told the press that the President donated 100 bags of rice to the victims, and the NDMA distributed 1,000 bags of rice in CRR and URR, with each region receiving 500 bags; that in addition to this, the Chinese Government donated $100,000 dollars amounting to over five million dalasi to support the recent windstorm victims in CRR and URR; that Petro Gas provided D500,000 worth of food and non- food items and the FBN Bank donated a Cheque for D100.000. He said the Gambia Red Cross society also supported by providing 250 makeshift shelters in URR and 150 in CRR; that the Chinese Government donated rice through the Ministry of Agriculture for onward distribution to 15,000 households across the country.
The Deputy Executive Director of the Agency Serign Modou Joof, also said the primary mandate of the institution which was established by an Act of Parliament, is to manage and coordinate all disaster and related matters in the country. Joof appealed to partners and stakeholders to coordinate all activities related to disaster relief by contacting the NDMA according to the Act. He said the Agency is the body responsible for such and deals directly with disaster victims; that they should not be bypassed because they are accountable to the Government of the day. He said they report to Government regarding who does what and where. Joof said there are quite a number of disaster victims in the country, and that it is their responsibility to know the people involved in disaster relief assistance and all other efforts made with the collaboration of partners, to ensure all aid is coordinated and received by the concerned victims.
“We want these things to be clearly understood by everyone and to honor each other’s responsibility,” he concludes.