Established to provide the opportunity to identify and strengthen synergies that exist among stakeholders in the planning, preparation, mitigation, recovery and rehabilitation efforts required in dealing with some of the potential hazards that they are facing.
Gambian Vice president, Dr. Aja Isatou Njie Saidy, who doubles as the chairman of the NDMA launched the platform by highlighting that the establishment of the national platform for disaster reduction provides the opportunity for the various stakeholders including the national disaster management council and its agency to bring into focus the fact that natural disasters and manmade disasters are part of their very existence.
She further highlighted that the Gambia is vulnerable to disaster risks from a range of hazards citing droughts, flooding, wind storms, locust invasion and landslides noting that the following have caused widespread damages and losses in the past to the country.
With the said factors, Njie- Saidy said they (NDMA) are now transitioning from managing crisis to managing risks saying that it is important to adopt a new strategy, which directly involves vulnerable people themselves in planning and implementation of mitigation measures.
According to her, several human induced hazards have also threaten the country, pointing out that a reactive, emergency response approach is no longer the solution in the long term.
She says: “This bottom-up approach has received acceptance because communities are considered the best judges of their own vulnerability and can make the best decisions regarding their own well-being,” she continued that the loss of life and property and the challenges that were faced in the aftermath of the 2010 floods exhibited the need for strengthening and amplifying existing policy and institutional arrangements to reduce losses from disasters in future.
Gambian no.2 told participants that the 2010 floods that happens in The Gambia to them tested the resilience and capacity of the country and its people to overcome disasters, as the response speaks to the fact the first responders where persons from the immediate community hence the reason for strengthening disaster committees at the community level and at the people’s level.
“Join forces to encourage persons and communities to build the culture of community of shared values in order to build community based resilience and to build a strong national focus geared towards DRR, as together we will be able to better plan, prepare, mitigate, respond and rehabilitate our families, communities, business and our nation,” VP made a call.