By Kebba Ansu Manneh
Madam Mariatou Tap, Secretary General of the International Civil Defence Organization (ICDO) has expressed her optimism about the Gambia becoming a member of the global disaster management organization.
She emphasized that the Gambia stands to benefit immensely from the organization once it is completed admission.
Madam Mariatou Tap made that statement at the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) office on Tuesday and she is currently in the country for a four-day working visit, noting that her visit will enhance the country’s efforts to join ICDO as well as create rooms of engagement with Gambian authorities including President Adama Barrow.
“Am looking forward to the Gambia joining the ICDO so that together we can build something strong to face disaster because we know the African countries are more vulnerable to disasters than other countries.
ICDO has sixty (60) members, among which we have twenty-eight (28) African countries, other members are so strong and there to offer help to developing countries, so we need Gambia to join us on the 28th so that together we can be stronger,” Madam Tap stated.
She added: “If Gambia joins the ICDO, it will accompany the national systems and this accomplishment can be done through capacity building, providing yearly training for stakeholders from the Gambia. ICDO can also provide technical assistance and humanitarian projects that can span more than a year, these are benefits that Gambia can gain once admitted into the ICDO family.”
She further observed that no one country can mitigate disaster alone and there is a need for nations to come together with resources and inputs in the collective efforts to build disaster resistance and mitigation, noting that the Gambia’s joining the international disaster management organization will further empower the country to harness all the gain available at the ICDO and better prepare the country to deal with disasters.
According to her, the visit accorded the ICDO delegation to have an overview of the disaster situation in the country through the NDMA, revealing that the Gambia is faced with five major disasters namely; flooding, windstorm, fire outbreaks, diseases and oil splits noting that ICDO can help addressed once Gambia becomes a member.
She also noted Gambia is on right track regarding disaster management and risk reduction as depicted by its establishment of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), emphasizing the NDMA is still at its infancy stage, but the organization is demonstrating its ability to mitigate disasters in the country as outlined in its programs and policies.
She pointed out that the four days visit will avail her team to engage with various stakeholders including ministers and President Adama Barrow, while further expressing optimism that Gambian President Adama Barrow will approve Gambia’s membership to the ICDO today.
Sanna Dahaba, Executive Director of, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) stated that the country stands to gain a lot from the global organization, noting that human security and state security goes hand in glove thus making it important for Gambia to partner with an institution like ICDO to stands to defend human security.
“There is no doubt that the Gambia will benefit a lot from the ICDO in terms of technical assistance, capacity building, and strengthening the disaster management systems of the country. I strongly believe it will be a win-win situation for both the Gambia and ICDO in our collective efforts to mitigate and reduce disaster risk once Gambia becomes a member,” NDMA Executive Director Sanna Dahaba observed.
He added: “We are grateful that both the NDMA and the ICDO have both made a presentation of their mandates, objectives, policies, and programs that gives us a glimpse of their activities. This engagement also, I believe, will help us both to understand each other’s policies and programs in better serving the populace in times of disaster but also to enhance our strategies in mitigating and reducing disasters.”