The Gambia has just joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, under the theme, ‘Women and Girls: the Visible Force of Resilience".
This year’s celebration came at a time when the government of The Gambia has stepped up efforts to this end, with the establishment and enhancement of a National Disaster Governing Council, with a view to improve community conditions so as to reduce risk and mitigate the impact of disasters.
As the world takes to contemplate on disaster risk reduction, we hope that such constructive initiatives continue. We also hope that stakeholders would without delay ensure the implementation of the theme of this year’s IDRR celebration.
The theme is very fundamental as women and girls are often the hardest-hit when disasters strike. They are separated from families and relatives and often forced to live under dehumanising conditions, yet they are recognised to be a formidable force of resilience; hence the need to harness their full potentials.
It is also befitting to note here that for there to be a successful reduction to risks associated with disasters, there is the need to promote a more people-centered approach in the process, because the principal resources of any community are its inhabitants and local stakeholders, who play an important part in the development processes.
Besides, the people have thorough knowledge of the area and are familiar with the factors that generate risk and limit development. Consequently, they are the best managers to guarantee sustainable development and harmonious co-existence of society and the environment. Therefore, active involvement of all women and girls, dedication and teamwork among all stakeholders will without doubt ensure realisation of sustainable local development and disaster risk reduction.
It is certain that disasters, particularly those brought about by nature, are unavoidable. However, this does not mean that humanity cannot do anything about them. Through activities geared towards disaster risk reduction, catastrophes and impediments to national development that would have otherwise been brought about by disasters can be mitigated. Stakeholders in disaster risk reduction should therefore commit themselves to adopting sound strategies to that end, and ensure their implementation without delay.
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