By Landing Ceesay
The United Nations Resident Representative to the Gambia Ms. Seraphine Wakana has said that the intensity and frequency of disasters in Gambia have increased progressively.
“As you all may be aware, the Gambia is prone to a variety of hazards and has been experiencing recurrent disasters for over several years especially with the increasing impact of climate change. In fact, the UN Common Country Analysis (CCA) which is the UN systems joint analysis of the development challenges the country is facing shows that the intensity and frequency of these disasters have increased progressively, leading to floods and occasional droughts, and affecting the lives and livelihoods of communities and households,” she said.
She highlighted the negative impacts of the increased intensity and frequency of disasters in the country.
“This is leading to more land and resource-based conflicts due to an increase in informal settlements (slums). The analysis also shows that the disasters threaten the long-term economic stability of the country by undermining food security leading to higher food prices at a time when households food security status is already threatened by the covid-19 pandemic,” Ms. Wakana added.
The UN Resident Representative further stated that UN agencies through the UN Disaster Risk Management Working Group led by World Food Programme, The Gambia Red Cross Society and NGOs, supported the Government and provided timely support to the affected population.
“The Government of The Gambia has been committed to a crucial role to plan and coordinate its response to these disasters. For example, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health with close support from the development and humanitarian community – especially the World Health Organisation has been mobilizing and carrying out a nation-wide and multi-sectorial response at an unprecedented level,” she said.
Ms. Wakana made these remarks earlier Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the review of the NDMA’s National Multi-Hazard Contingency Plan (National Contingency Plan), the blueprint for disaster preparation and response in The Gambia.