The National Disaster Management Agency in partnership with the European Union has recently enhanced the resilience of communities vulnerable to disasters in the country. Through the EU-funded Drainage Sanitation and Waste Management project, NDMA has established Waste Disposal and Sanitation Committees in disaster hotspot communities across the country and provided each committee with a tractor and sanitation materials.
Also the NDMA regional offices in collaboration with City Scape Associates, from the 11th to 14th July, held sensitisation forums on environmental sanitation and drainage management for all the seven committees including Bundung Borehole, Bantaba and Campama wards’ Waste Disposal and Sanitation Committees, in a bid to enhance community resilience to disasters.
Commenting on the importance of the project, the Executive Director of NDMA, Lt. Col Alhajie Sanneh said the Agency is now focusing more on disaster prevention and that the initiative aims to mitigate the impact of flash floods and environmental health hazards.
He urged all, particularly those in disaster prone areas, to be committed to disaster prevention, saying disaster avoidance is cheaper and more idyllic than response.
It was also indentified that Bundung Borehole and Bantaba Ward are the most vulnerable communities to flash floods in the Kanifing Municipality.
At a training programme held in Bundung, the Kanifing Municipal Environmental and Sanitation Manager, Dodou Jallow, who represented the mayor, enjoined members of the committee to be steadfast in disaster risk reduction.
He described disaster prevention and management as cross-cutting and expressed the Council’s commitment to environmental sanitation and waste management.
The Kanifing Municipal Disaster Management Coordinator, Ngange Jeng, affirmed that the establishment of the Waste Disposal and Sanitation Committees is meant to enable local communities take centre stage in disaster risk reduction within their localities.
The Alkalo of Bundung, Momodou Boo Conateh; a consultant Mamanding Kuyateh and the Secretary of Ward Disaster Management Committee, Musa Colley, all lauded the initiative and commended EU, Government of the Gambia and NDMA for their continued efforts in DRR.
A similar forum was organsied in Campama Ward in Banjul. At the event, the CEO of Banjul City Council, Mustapha Batchilly assured the Ward Waste Disposal and Sanitation committees of his council’s dedication to waste collection and called for concerted efforts in waste management.
The Banjul Disaster Management Coordinator, Hudul Colley reminded members of the committee that the training is aimed at strengthening community resilience to disasters.
He thus urged them to take ownership of waste management in the area.
He also advised people of the area to be mindful of incense pots and combustible materials to avert fire disasters.
The trainings were preceded by a nationwide sensitisation of key stakeholders on disaster prevention on the NDMA’s revised legal framework for disaster risk reduction in the country.
by Fatou Trawally