The money officials say, is a donation by the International Red Cross Society in Geneva.
It could be recalled that a heavy windstorm that hit on Wednesday 7 July 2021 initially claimed lives in the country, with a total of 1531 people internally displaced and 3140 totally affected by the storm. Gambia Red Cross officials say the D13 million dalasis is meant to support the most vulnerable victims to enable them rebuild their houses.
Meanwhile, the latest update from the Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) indicates that the July 7 windstorms reportedly killed 11 people in the country and affected 192 communities. They added that 1721 households including 27,434 people were affected. The GRCS report further added that 552 families across the country completely lost their houses while 295 houses had partial damages.
Alasan Senghore, secretary general of the GRCS, who was speaking during a press conference on Thursday at its headquarters said: “The GRCS received a tune of over 200,000 Swiss Franc from the International Red Cross Society in Geneva. The 200, 000 Swiss Franc is amounting D13 million dalasis. It’s meant to support the people that are hit hard by the windstorm. We would be using cash transfer to five hundred households around the country. So far, 1847 households have been assessed across the country.”
The gesture, Senghore revealed, is part of GRCS efforts to complement government efforts in improving the lives and livelihoods of the victims most especially the 500 people that are affected badly.
Their priorities, he further added, is to ensure that they help the victims to get back to their houses and to improve their living conditions. However, he was quick to add that they are targeting the most vulnerable victims, claiming that the GRCS would distribute the money to the victims through mobile money.
“We are using this medium because we are moving towards getting people assisted in a way that is more dignifying. The victims know what they intend to do with the assistance which we would be providing to them. However, our objectives are to ensure that they repair their houses. We will be using the mobile money system because it’s more accountable, quicker and more efficient.”
Senghore recalled that in 2018 the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) launched the Early Warning System, a project that aimed at updating the public about future disaster and weather conditions. Before the commencement of the 2021 raining season, he said, the NDMA called its partners including GRCS to look at the possibilities of disaster and how to respond to it.
“There is a need for the government to improve on the early warning system to ensure the public gets information ahead of disasters. If the public were updated about the windstorm in advance, the lives lost in the North Bank Region could have been saved.