By Ismaila Sonko
July 16, 2021
The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) has raised an amount equivalent to D13, 521, 466.52 to support victims of the windstorm that ravaged The Gambia recently. Alasana Senghore, Secretary General of the GRCS, made the disclosure to journalists Thursday, at the GRCS Secretariat in West Field.
He also disclosed that GRCS had requested for support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to provide relief to windstorm victims in The Gambia. According to him, the IFRC subsequently approved the said amount for the operation to cover the following areas: Health and Water Sanitation Promotion (WASH) and strengthening the capacity of the GRCS. He added that the operation is for a period of three months, starting 15 July 2021.
Senghore explained that the GRCS operation will cater for 500 beneficiary households in most of the affected regions, with the activities to include cash transfer (unconditional) for procurement of shelter materials and non-food Items (NFIs). In addition, 50- Red Cross volunteers supported by 15 staff will be mobilised and trained for proper implementation of the emergency response plan of action.
He continued: “GRCS has been working with partners notably the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) in conducting assessment to ascertain the magnitude and impact of the disaster and to establish the number of affected households; the preliminary data indicates a total of 29,192 people affected and 1,945 households, across the country.”
The GRCS SG also informed the gathering that the criteria for beneficiary selection is being developed in close coordination with the NDMA and partners, whilst the selection process will be done by the regional Red Cross branch teams supported by staff from the headquarters in consultation with the regional governors and local authorities on the ground.
He further stated that two ambulances will also be deployed on standby to provide emergency health care and evacuation in case of need, with one ambulance already deployed in Upper River Region (URR) to address cases of disaster related to windstorm and flood for the next one month.
He noted that all the seven regions of The Gambia were affected by windstorm, including 192 communities, 1721 households, 29,192 people, with 11 deaths. He added that so far 552 families lost their houses completely, whilst 295 have partial damages.
Senghore recalled that during the first hours after the disasters, the Gambia Red Cross activated its contingency plan and sent teams to the affected regions.
“GRCS provided life-saving relief items worth 1,194,300.00 GMD to the affected communities whilst conducting assessments to establish the extent of the damages and the needs, to this end, the most vulnerable families were provided with sleeping mats, blankets, bed sheets, hygiene and sanitary items. However, considering the level of the damages, coupled with the fact that it is only the beginning of the rainy season, the affected communities risk being exposed to the harsh weather conditions since most have lost their houses,” he concluded.