The President of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia had underscored his government’s commitment to addressing the challenges of climate change and global warming, saying these are reflected in the policies, laws and actions that it initiated as a government to reduce the risks and threats of natural and other disasters.
His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Babili Mansa said those actions include tirelessly implementing early warning innovations and activities that have the potential of protecting lives, social and economic gains.
President Jammeh made the remarks in a statement read on his behalf by the Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Her Excellency Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy on the occasion of the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction 2016 which The Gambia will join the rest of the world to celebrate today.
On October 13 each year, the world celebrates disaster risk reduction day. This is in connection to the promotion of a global culture of the prevention and reduction of the incidence of disasters at all levels. The theme for 2016 is: ‘Live to Tell’. This begins with a new United Nations campaign, popularizing the 7 targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which is the global agreement on disaster management 2015-2030. The campaign involves raising awareness on these targets and promoting institutional and financial commitments towards their implementation.
The Gambian leader said in 2015, when world leaders met at the third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, they were all reminded that disasters are a serious threat to the world’s social and economic achievements and stability. “This threat to livelihoods and the loss of lives estimated at 76,422 deaths per annum due to disasters renewed our political commitment to improve the situation,” he said.
In addition, he said public health emergencies such as the 2013 Ebola outbreak in the West African Sub-region and the recent threat of the spread of the Zika virus from Latin America have also brought shock to many people. He said the traumas these diseases cause to populations indicate that the reduction of risks to disasters should be the language of development planning and practice, saying this is why the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction’s foremost objective is to reverse the number of people who die as a result of disasters.
The Gambian leader added that the Sendai Framework represents not only the foremost post-2015 development agreement to change the culture of disaster management but it also signals that a solution worth celebrating is in sight. “In our own setting, hazards which are mostly floods and windstorms have affected several households and individuals. In some cases, lives have been claimed, for which we pray for the departed souls to perfectly rest in peace and to receive mercy from Allah Sub-Hanawataßllah.”
President Jammeh also maintained that the government of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia has also mounted a massive awareness raising campaign through the media, community meetings, trainings and capacity building activities for government and non-government workers, to increase knowledge on disaster risk reduction and management and the adaptation of best practices in ‘our’ own situation.
These activities, he said are building national resilience to shocks and emergencies with a strong public private partnership approach that identifies threats and work collaboratively to address them.
Furthermore, he said government ensures that support is not only mobilized in a very transparent and accountable approach but has provided the relevant and timely support to the affected populations. “We also recognise and take the opportunity to express gratitude to the humanitarian, civil society and relief-based organisations.”
by Amadou Jallow