The Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) is delighted to welcome The Republic of Gambia’s National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) as its newest Partner. The Gambian NDMA has joined REAP's global membership to engage in a community that is committed to scaling up anticipatory approaches to disaster management, and to raise further awareness of the multiple intersecting hazards that are affecting the world’s most climate vulnerable countries.
As the incidence and severity of disasters are on the rise, disaster management deserves the highest priority. Until recently, disaster management was considered a post disaster activity focusing on rescue, relief, and rehabilitation. Now we must look to develop better approaches which seek to anticipate disasters and aid preparation before they happen.
The Gambia has been identified as one of the country’s most susceptible to climate change globally. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights officially recognized that “Climate change threatens the effective enjoyment of a range of human rights including those to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture and development” in the country. In recent years, a climate change-induced erratic rainfall pattern has had impacts on the farming system, reducing the length of the growing period and the additional mid-season dry spell, creating drought. The Gambia is highly also highly prone to flooding, sea and river levels are increasing, but the increase in desertification of the Sahel is also forcing internal migration towards unplanned settlements in Banjul. Floods in July 2022 caused widespread damage to homes and property and Official figures show that 50,378 people were affected and 7,404 were displaced.
In joining REAP, Gambia’s NDMA aims to advocate for greater disaster preparedness through scaling-up early warning and early action at the national, sub-national and local levels, by including these disaster risk management tools in existing investments wherever possible. The NDMA will engage with the wider Partnership to share their experience as one of the most climate vulnerable countries and will take initiative from others in the ambition to protect the most at-risk populations.
The Gambia NDMA will aim to strengthen inter-agency coordination, with a focus on accessible, understandable and actionable warnings reflective of the diversity of EWS audiences. The existing commitments and contributions made to global frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the World Humanitarian Summit’s Agenda for Humanity with be prioritized. The Government of The Gambia through the NDMA has recognized and appreciates the technical and logistical support from all UN Systems including the World Food Programme (WFP) Country Office, Africa Risk Capacity (ARC), United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), amongst others.
The Gambia NDMA has a wealth of knowledge in disaster risk reduction, specifically related to the development of standard operating procedures for disaster risk management, including preparedness, prevention, response, recovery, and rehabilitation. This works has supported implementation of the NDMA’s institutional framework and disaster simulation exercises based on the country’s National Contingency Plan.
“The Gambia is a disaster-prone country due to geo-physical conditions, climate extremes, and high degrees of exposure and vulnerability. A range of hazards including floods and windstorm, fire outbreaks and epidemics pose risks which has impacted on lives and livelihoods of people across the country at an alarming rate.
The fact that The Gambia experiences a range of regularly occurring hazards provides a strong rationale for investing in Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS) that provide advanced weather forecast warnings to both decision-makers and communities. Effective early warning and early actions depend upon risk knowledge, an effective hazard monitoring and threat assessment, dissemination, and communication of warning messages to communities both at national and subnational level. This will strengthen timely response to anticipatory warning systems for better preparedness, response, and resilient building. However, this approach requires strong partnership and collaboration with both national and international partners.”
- Mr. Sanna A Dahaba – Executive Director – National Disaster Management Agency
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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