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 Windstorm in Gambia kills 10, displaces hundreds
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Posted - 09 Jul 2021 :  01:55:37  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Windstorm in Gambia kills 10, displaces hundreds, government says

BANJUL, July 8 (Reuters) - Entire families wandered around the outskirts of Gambia's capital Banjul in search of shelter on Thursday, after an overnight windstorm levelled scores of houses in some of the country's western districts and claimed at least 10 lives.

"The wind destroyed the roof of my house ... and my situation is devastated because of lack of finance," said Amadou Marong, who was taken in by a neighbour after the winds carried off the sheet-metal roofing that protected him from the rain.

Many of the small African nation's coastal urban areas remained without electricity or running water on Thursday evening, after utility infrastructure was damaged by heavy winds, rain and flooding.

At least 10 people were killed during the storm, which landed around midnight, and more than 1,500 people displaced, according to government figures.

"Any soul lost as a result of a disaster is a big loss to the country," Sanna Dahaba, who heads Gambia's Natural Disaster Management Authority, told a news conference on Thursday.

"The government is not taking the plight of citizens lightly," he said, adding that the agency would welcome any assistance from international partners.

Gambian President Adama Barrow held an emergency meeting on Thursday afternoon to assess the damage and devise a response plan, a statement from his office said.

"President Barrow is calling on all Gambians and good samaritans to come forward and support the victims in any way they can while his Government assesses the needed support," the statement read.

(Refiles to correct reporting credit)

Reporting by Pap Saine Editing by Cooper Inveen and Sandra Maler

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone


10547 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2021 :  00:59:36  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote


Fellow Gambians and Residents,

These are challenging times for us as a nation. As a predominant farming country, we always look forward to the rainy season with excitement. However, we are also conscious that the season may come with some natural disasters. As the rainy season starts this year, we are beginning to experience such unfortunate calamities.

Last Wednesday night’s thunderstorm, accompanied by lightning and heavy winds that downed electric poles, destroyed buildings, uprooted trees, and littered our streets and communities with debris. Above all, it is most regrettable that our report recorded ten (10) deaths across the country due to the storm.

On behalf of the Government and the entire nation, I commiserate with all those affected directly or indirectly. In particular, I extend heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families for the sad loss of lives, and I pray for solace for those who suffered damage to property. In the same vein, I pray for the speedy recovery of all those injured and their loved ones who perished in the storm to rest in eternal peace.

I wish to inform all citizens and residents of the country that my Government is fully aware of the scale of the damage caused by this natural tragedy. We have since taken immediate steps to redress the situation.

Working with the National Disaster Agency (NDMA) and the relevant line institutions, the Government has activated the country’s ‘Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.’ The National Disaster Management Agency staff deployed around the country are working tirelessly to assess the full extent of the damage, and they are instituting measures to mitigate the effects of this natural disaster.

Based on an NDMA preliminary assessment report, the storm destroyed property worth millions of Dalasis and injured many people, apart from claiming ten (10) lives.

I appeal to all citizens and residents, all corporate bodies, and our development partners to work with the NDMA on disaster risk reduction mechanisms and support the victims.
Fellow Gambians,

Agriculture is vital for our food security and survival. At the same time, we also benefit from it for subsistence. Therefore, I will seize this opportunity, as I always do, to call on the youth and all able-bodied citizens to engage in agriculture as a business venture.
It is also worth noting that we can improve environmental sanitation by maintaining waterways clear of debris and garbage.

My Government will urge the Department of Physical planning to learn lessons from the poor planning of old settlements and, in the future, plan new communities better, taking account of waterways and proper drainage systems.
In conclusion, I reiterate my call for support and solidarity with the victims of the storm as they rebuild their lives and livelihood.

I thank you for your attention.

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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