By Mark Burns,2014-06-13 11:01
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    2008 - 2011

    [April, 2008]


    List of Acronyms………………………………………………………………. 3

    Executive Summary……………………………………………………………. 4

    Chapter 1 SITAUTIONAL ANALYSIS………………………….. 5 - 9

1.1 International and Global Context

    1.2 National Context

    1.3 Analytical review of Disaster Issues in the Gambia


    AND OBJECTIVES ………………………………. 11 - 13

2.1. Disaster Management in The Gambia

    2.2. Justification of the Strategic Plan

    2.3. Vision, Mission, Goals and Objectives


    FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION…………………… 14 - 19

3.1 Vision and Goal of the Action Plan

    3.2 Goal of the Strategic Plan

    3.3 Guiding Principles for Strategic Programming

    3.4 Key Stakeholders

    3.5 Priority Areas for Action

    3.6 Expected Outcomes

    3.7 Priority Target Groups

    3.8 Strategies



5.1 Implementation Framework

    5.2 Implementation Structure




CEO - Chief Executive Officer

    DFID - Department of Foreign International Development DOSFEA - Department of State for Finance and Economic Affairs DOSH - Department of State for Health

    DPWM - Department of Parks and Wildlife Management ECOWAS - Economic Community of West African States GAMTEL - Gambia Telecommunication Company

    GEAP - Gambia Environmental Action Plan

    MDFT - Multi- Disciplinary Facilitation Team. MDGs - Millennium Development Goals

    NAWEC - National Water and Electricity Company NEA - National Environment Agency

    NEPAD - Non Economic Partnership for African Development NGOs - Non Governmental Organizations

    PURA - Public Utility Regularity Authority

    R/MDMC - Regional/Municipal Disaster Management Committee UN - United Nations

    UNDP - United Nations Development Program


    Executive summary

    The Gambia has been experiencing quite a significant number of disastrous events of both natural and anthropogenic origin. Recent information on the hazard profile of the Gambia and its vulnerability and capacity assessment shows that these disasters are related to drought, water and climate, locust invasion, environmental degradation, floods and epidemics. Disasters have caused great losses to live and property and have pushed several people into poverty. The economic impact of disasters usually consists of direct damage e.g. infrastructure, crops, housing, and indirect damage e.g. loss of revenues, unemployment and market destabilization. It is therefore increasingly becoming a major developmental issue of urgent concern for the government, development partners and local communities.

    In view of this situation, the government had formulated a disaster management policy and promulgated a disaster management Bill aimed at building safe and resilient communities by enhancing the use of and access to knowledge and information in disaster prevention and management at all levels of society. This clearly testifies the national concern on this hindrance to sustainable development. The policy and bill clearly pave the way for ensuring that we work together for a safer world and country and in order for the country to attain its Vision 2020, poverty reduction and millennium development goals, disaster management is crucial and forms an integral part of the process.

    The development of this strategic plan is undermined by a comprehensive disaster management approach that seeks to achieve the right balance of prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response. The strategy is based on the realization of the multi-dimensional nature of disaster which needs to be mainstreamed into the overall national development process and is a useful document that will serve as the main reference material by all stakeholders in disaster management during the four years implementation period.

    The main objective of the strategy is to provide a pathway for the implementation of the national disaster bill and policy. It coherently provides the logical steps and actions required to bring about efficient and effective disaster management in the country. The strategy is in five chapters; chapter one provides the global and national situation on disasters, chapter two highlights the national policy to respond and militate against disasters, chapter three outlines the building blocks of the national disaster strategy. Chapter four provides the activity matrix in a logical manner with the required resources and measurable benchmarks, and lastly, chapter 5 presents the implementation framework and structure for the delivery of the identified activities within the timeframe. There is also a monitoring and evaluation framework provided in the annex.




1.1 International and Global Context

    Disasters are situations or events which overwhelm local capacity, necessitating a request to national or international level for assistance. These are classified into two main categories i.e. Natural disasters which are hydro-meteorological and Geophysical, and non-natural disasters which are man-made and can be industrial related; chemical spill, collapse of industrial structures, explosion, fire, gas leak poisoning, radiation; miscellaneous events such as collapse of domestic/non industrial structures, explosion, fire, and Transport related; air, rail, road and water-borne accidents (World Disasters Report, 2002).

    Disasters and how they are managed, have become the subject of increasing research and debate in recent years. This heightened interest signifies that the world has become a more dangerous place for its inhabitants who are becoming more vulnerable to disasters. Data gathered worldwide over the last three decades suggest that, while the number of people killed by natural disasters has leveled out at around 80,000 per year, the number affected by disasters and associated economic losses have both soared. As during the 1990s, an annual average of around 200 million people was affected by natural disasters nearly three times higher than during the 1970s. Economic losses from such disasters in the 1990s averaged US$ 63 billion per year which is nearly five times higher in real terms than the figure for the 1970s (Brussels-based Centre for research on the Epidemiology of Disasters-CRED)

    While the figures sound sobering, they disguise the devastating effects that disasters can have on poorer nations‟ development as disasters undermine development by contributing to persistent poverty. As Didier Cherpited says “disasters are first and foremost a major

    threat to development, and specifically to the development of poorest and most marginalized people in the world. Disasters seek out the poor and vulnerable, and ensure they stay poor.” (World Disasters Report, 2002)

    It has been evidently documented that, vulnerability to disaster is not simply by lack of wealth, but by a complex range of physical, economic, political and social factors. Flawed development is exacerbating these factors and exposing more people to disasters. Rapid population growth and unplanned urbanization force poorer communities to live in more hazardous areas. However, even the better-off are at risk as expansion of infrastructure over the past decades including bridges, railway lines and roads have created a barrier across the valley leading to limited access, and excessive rainfall


    resulting in floods. Growth in infrastructure across the globe has increased both the level of assets at risk from disasters, and the people dependent on such lifelines as electricity, gas and water mains.

    Economic growth may increase risks particularly in the poorest countries of the world as economic activities can result to environmental degradation, deforestation which disrupts watersheds leading to more severe droughts, as well as floods. People switch jobs or their mode of crop production in response to improved marketing opportunities, and in doing so, they may increase their vulnerability to disasters. Clearly, disasters are a major threat to the global economy and to society and therefore sustainable development is society‟s

    investment in the future or otherwise; investments will be squandered if not adequately protected against the risk of disaster.

    Recognizing the fact that disasters are complex problems arising from the interaction between the environment and the development of human beings, disaster requires complex responses drawing on a wide range of skills and capacities. It requires the cooperation between multilateral development agencies, national and local governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, natural and social scientists, technical specialists and the vulnerable communities. Central to the United Nations Conferences in Stockholm in 1972, Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, was global commitment to mainstreaming

    sustainable development in all aspects of national development.

    The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) also provides the international community with a framework for sustainable development of dry lands. The objective of the convention is to secure the long-term commitment of its parties through a legally binding document. It provides an international framework for States affected by desertification to work jointly with industrialized countries to implement National Action Programmes. The Convention is a powerful instrument for sustainable natural resource management in affected regions and for ensuring long-term, mandatory external support for these efforts. Such declaration calls for the concerted efforts of all UN member states to reducing the occurrence and impact of natural disasters and therefore disaster mitigation and preparedness appear to be firmly on the aid agenda.

    Further to the declaration of the international decade for disaster reduction (1990-1999) the UN General Assembly in 2000 founded the ISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction), a coalition of governments, UN agencies, regional organizations and civil society organizations. In 2002, the UN published a document entitled Living with Risk: A Global review of disaster reduction initiatives. In 2005, a major reform within the UN system resulted in some UN agencies, in particular UNDP, becoming increasingly concerned about disaster risk issues by actively engaging in enhancing disaster risk programmes at country level. The road map towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration (Secretary –General‟s report to the General Assembly)

    touches on areas which are closely linked to vulnerability to natural hazards such as ensuring environmental stability, the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger and promoting gender equality.


In furtherance of these UN‟s efforts, several governments and NGOs championed issues

    of disaster reduction. During the world conference on disaster reduction held in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, world governments agreed on the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 which was formulated as a comprehensive action-oriented response to international concern about disaster impacts on communities and national development. For its part, the World Bank launched the Global Environment Facility in the mid 1990s and Pro Vention Consortium in 2000, which works towards a more effective public- private dialogue on disaster risk.

    The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) declared by the international community to halve extreme poverty and hunger, combating infectious diseases, ensuring universal primary education and sustainable development, are critical to disaster management. Bearing in mind the importance of disaster management, the UN declared in 1990 the International Decade for Natural disaster Reduction (IDNDR). Thus the realization that environmental threats could result in serious socio-economic and human costs has refocused the disaster management agenda on some critical challenges relating to disaster reduction initiatives. Some of these challenges are in essence development challenges, especially when many of these threats that confront the international community emanate largely from failures of development.

1.2.1 National Context

    The Gambia is situated on the west coast of Africa between the Equator and the Tropic of cancer and it forms a narrow strip of land on either side of the River Gambia. It is about 50 miles (80 kilometres) wide along the coast, narrowing to 15miles (24 Kilometers) at its eastern border. From sea level, interior elevations rise to 112 feet. The country covers an area of 11,000 square kilometers and has a population of 1.4 million inhabitants (128 per kilometer) making the Gambia one of the most densely populated countries in Africa.

    The country is vulnerable to periodic drought because it is part of the arid Sahel Zone between the Sahara desert and the coastal rain forest and further experiences climate change and environmental degradation. The subtropical climate has a distinct hot and rainy season from June to October, and a cooler dry season from November to May. High temperatures and humidity mark the beginning and end of the rainy season. The dry season is noted for dry trade winds locally known as Harmattan.

    The Gambia as part of the African Union together with NEPAD Secretariat has developed the African Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction. This Strategy was thendorsed by the 10 meeting of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment

    and was favorably noted by the 2004 African Union Summit, which called for the formulation of the programme of action for the implementation of the Africa strategy (2005-2010).


    At the sub-regional level, ECOWAS over the recent years has increasingly focused its attention on disaster issues leading to the establishment of disaster risk reduction as an st session in December 2003 in operational theme. The ECOWAS Council of Ministers 51

    Ghana established a technical committee on disaster management. A meeting of the committee in 2005 outlined the scope of the ECOWAS mechanism for disaster management, which has been developed into a policy.

    At the national level, disaster management issues are gradually being given more attention in national planning processes but until recently was seen in sectoral lens and hardly have the effective structures, policy, legal framework and more so the proper understanding and capacities.

    The recurrence of disaster events and the increasing concerns about disaster impacts have attracted a lot of attention from both governments and development partners not the least because the risk calculus for vulnerable groups within society and the infrastructure is enormous.

The DFID Policy Paper entitled „Reducing the Risk of Disaster-Helping to Achieve thSustainable Poverty Reduction in a Vulnerable World‟ has ranked the Gambia 24

    among the developing countries at high risk of disaster. The highest in ranking is Bangladesh followed by Nepal. The implications for The Gambia in this ranking are evident in that if no prevention and preparedness measures are taken now to mitigate this high risk, it may erode the significant development gains registered in The Gambia especially in the area of infrastructure and the well elaborated poverty reduction strategies among others.

    The risk calculus for vulnerable groups within society and infrastructure will be enormous and hence the urgent need to design this strategy that would outline the development of standard instruments for disaster prevention and preparedness as well as the organizational mechanisms for plan implementation. The underlying assumption, as indicated in the Policy document, is that disaster prevention and preparedness are crucial entry points for disaster risk reduction.

    Despite the potential high risk been posed by disaster, the old view of disasters as temporary interruptions on the path of social and economic progress and should be dealt with through humanitarian relief is deeply rooted in the country. Until recently, disaster issues were treated and handled through our various environmental management programmes and sectors as an added on activity. It is increasingly becoming evident that those notions are no longer credible and disaster issues are too big to be an added on to a sector or being perceived as a sectoral mandate. Disaster issues are multidimensional, multi-sectoral and need to be mainstreamed in all development concerns with a central coordination.

1.2.2 Analytical Review of Disaster issues in the Gambia


    The World Watch Institute in Washington estimates that the earth‟s continents lose 24 billion tons of fertile topsoil every year and forest destruction put at 15 million hectares of forest worldwide with depletion worst in developing countries such as the Gambia. The expansion of the agricultural frontiers into fragile ecosystems, eliminating stabilized forest cover has increased the frequency of flash floods and lower agricultural productivity.

    In 2003, about half of the Gambian population lived in towns and the city, of which six out of ten of them live in the unplanned peri-urban peripheries which are already stretched to breaking point. Uncontrolled urban sprawl and speculative land markets have pushed many marginal settlements into high-risk areas that are flood-prone areas. The confirmation of avian influenza cases in Nigeria and in some countries in West Africa causes a great threat to both animals and human population in the Gambia due to the close proximity and trade relationship. The country has very volatile environmental condition, which can lead to disaster at any time. The country‟s natural resources and the environment are seriously endangered as human lives are increasingly harmed by pollution, desertification, climate change, floods and unplanned urbanization.

    Climate change will have repercussions as it can lead to desertification, rising sea levels, rapid shifts in vegetable zones, lower agricultural production and a greater shortage of fresh water. This affects the country in general particularly the poorest who will be worst hit.

    In recent years, the Gambia experienced a significant number of disastrous events of both natural and human origins. The Hazards Profile of the Gambia and its Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment Report indicates that these disasters are related to drought, floods, locust invasions, environmental degradation and epidemics. For example, between 2002 and 2006 there were 65 flood related disasters, 45 incidents of fire in the western region only which mostly are highly populated and urbanized. The severe floods in 1999 and 2003 in Upper River and Central River Regions and in many parts of the country affected 13.1 per cent of the population.

    Country-wide locust invasions during the 1980s, 90s, in 2003 and of recent affected most farmers in the country. The influx of refugees in Western Region and bush fires in Lower River Region also had negative consequences on economic development of the country. Other major cases were the Serrekunda market fire disasters, kanifing East Estate fire incident in 2006, the Ebo Town floods in 2002, 2005 and 2007 causing lost of lives, huge properties and contributed to food insecurity. The vulnerability of the country to disasters is quite evident by the existing manifstations.

    All these incidents, a combination of man-made and natural disasters are causes for concern and thus call for concerted and coordinated efforts to plan to prevent, manage and mitigate the effects of disasters. This should not be done in isolation but integrated

     into the national development planning framework.



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