Panafrican News Agency

Gambia’s disaster affects over 60,000 people - Report

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - More than 60,000 people have been affected by natural disasters, the country’s disaster management agency report said here Sunday.

It stated that “61,665 persons from 3,391 households have been affected by natural disaster in The Gambia such as flash floods, windstorms, and fire outbreaks as at September 29, 2020,” National Disaster Management Agency said in a report made available to PANA.

The report added: “22% of the affected population is internally displaced, 28% are infants, 8% are pregnant and lactating mothers and 3% are differently able”.

“A total of 3,391 households are affected nationwide. 59% of the affected household population is in the western part of the country and the remaining 38% are in the eastern part of the country. 

“Most households in the Western part of the country are affected by floods and in the eastern part; most households are affected by windstorm.”

According to the NDMA, Upper River Region (URR) and West Coast Region (WCR) are the most affected regions, where about 54 per cent of the affected populations are from URR and WCR, the rest of the regions cumulatively have a population of 28,393 affected.

Also, 75 households recorded loss of food items due to fire outbreaks, 868 due to floods and 618 due to windstorm, adding that 1,561 household loses one or more food items due to the aforementioned hazards.

“It will be important to know that some households are so poor that they could not afford to have any food to store in their houses for their families feeding prior the disaster,” it stated.

The report said some farmlands were washed away by the rains particularly in the North Bank Region (NBR). Some farmers have been attacked by fall armyworms. However, the report noted that the ministry of Agriculture through the Plant Protection Unit will further update stakeholders on their possible intervention to reduce their impacts.

“Farmers from 248 households reported that they lost some of their seeds for the farming season due to fire outbreaks, and lost their food grains by floods and windstorm. Fifteen of households lost their seeds due to fire outbreaks, 118 due to floods and 115 due to windstorm,” the statement said.

“A total 378 casualties are recorded nationwide. 72% were with minor injuries, 21% were taken to hospitals, 4% were fractured and 2% were burnt.

“Education: 8 schools have been reported to be affected by windstorm by the ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.“

The NDMA officials also said affected families needed food assistance, shelter and clothing as most of them were poor, vulnerable and found it very difficult to meet their basic needs.

Officials said the agency had been engaged in rapid assessments to ascertain the magnitude of damages by disasters and to identify coping strategies of affected households.

The Executive Director of the Agency visited the regions of NBR, Lower River Region (LRR), Upper River Region (URR) and Central River Region (CRR) with local authorities and the most recent was his visit with the president of the republic.E“The agency held a stakeholder meeting in addressing some of the causes of damages due to the various hazards. The West Coast Regional Coordination Office also partners with stakeholders to do some demolishing exercises of illegal structures causing disasters such as floods in some parts of the region affecting lives and livelihoods,” it added.

However, the prediction indicates above normal rains in many parts of the country annually with 1000mm in the Western Sector of the country. A range of 800-950mm of rainfall is likely over the rest of the country.

“The affected population has increased by 19% from situation report (SITREP) 003 and settlements within the Greater Banjul Areas and part of West Coast Region are still inundated,” it said.


-0-     PANA     MSS/RA    11Oct2020