With MUHAMMED SAILU BAH
Interview with Banjul Disaster Coordinator
Welcome to another edition of Know Your Public Institutions, a column which seeks to create awareness on the nature and work of public institutions in the Gambia. This edition is a continuation of an exclusive interview with the National Disaster Management Agency Coordinator for Banjul Hudul E.N. Colley on the Function of the National Disaster Management agency.
Foroyaa: Do you have Disaster management Committees?
Banjul Coordinator: Yes we do.
Foroyaa: Can you please tell us about these Committees?
Banjul Disaster Coordinator: according to the NDMA Act, they established, for each Region, a regional Disaster Management Committee, which shall reflect the name of the region for which it is established.
A Regional Disaster Committee has the responsibility for implementing both the National Disaster Plan and Regional Disaster plan and act as the coordinating and monitoring body for management of disaster for the region.
According to the Act, the agency shall have overriding powers over a regional Committee on any matter relating to disaster management and disaster operations in the Region.
Foroyaa: can you explain the composition of the Regional Committees?
Banjul Coordinator: a regional Disaster Committee consists of –
A Chairperson Who Shall Be Mayor or Governor as the case may be;
- Such other members, as shall be determine by guidelines laid down by the Council; and
- The regional disaster Coordinator who shall also act as the secretary to the Regional Disaster Committee.
The members of the regional Disaster Committee may designate one of their members to be the Vice-Chairperson of the Regional Disaster Committee.
Foroyaa: Explain the Function of the Regional Disaster Committees.
Banjul Coordinator: a Regional Disaster Committee shall-
Lay down the disaster management policy and plans for disaster management in its region;
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by the Local Authorities in the Region for the Purposes of integration measures for the prevention of disasters and mitigation in their development plans and projects and provide necessary technical assistance for them;
- Review the measures being taken for the mitigation, capacity building and preparedness by the Local Authorities in the Region and issue such guidelines as may be necessary;
- Recommend to the Agency the provision of funds for mitigation and preparedness measures in the Region;
- Examine the vulnerability of different parts of the region to different forms of disasters and specify measures to be taken for their prevention or mitigation; and
- Coordinate all disaster management activities in the region.
A regional Disaster Committee may, for the purpose of assisting or protecting the community affected by disaster or of providing relief to the community or preventing or combating disruption, or dealing with the effects of any threatening disaster situation in the region-
Control and restrict vehicular traffic to, from or within, the vulnerable or affected area;
Control and restrict the entry of any person into, his or her movement within and departure from a vulnerable or affected area,
Remove debris, conduct search and carry out rescue operations;
Provide, food shelter, drinking water, essential provisions, health care and services in accordance with the standards laid down by the agency and the Regional Disaster Committee;
Give direction to any District Disaster Committee, Village Disaster Committee or other relevant Authority, within the local limits of the Regional Disaster , within the local limits of the regional Disaster Committee to take such measures or steps for rescue, evacuation or providing immediate relief, savings lives or property, as may be necessary in his or her opinion;
Require a District, Village Disaster Committee, other relevant Authority, or person in charge of any relevant resources, to make available the resources for the purpose of emergency response, rescue and relief;
Procure exclusive or preferential use of amenities from any district, Village Disaster Committee, other relevant Authority, or person as when required;
Ensure that non-governmental agencies carry out their activities in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner;
Disseminate information to the public to deal with any threatening disaster situation or disaster and
Take such steps as the agency may direct and such other steps are required or warranted by the form of any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
The chairperson of a regional Disaster Committee has in the case of an emergency, power to exercise all or any of the powers of the Regional Disaster Committee but the exercise of those powers is subject to ratification of the regional Disaster Committee.
Continuation on Powers and Function of Regional Disaster Committees in Disaster Situations