Gov’t ready to reduce magnitude of floods this year’
By Cherno Omar Bobb
Rohey John Manjang, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (WECCNAR), has said that their visit to sites of environmental concern in the Greater Banjul Area was to have firsthand information on what to do to mitigate the reoccurrence of floods that happened during last year’s rainy season.
The minister on Tuesday embarked on a day-long visit to better understand the environmental challenges arising from the activities at Bund Road and Tobacco Road, Karmalo, Tambi Wetland clearance, Abusi culvert and Jabang – flooded areas to effectively engage with relevant institutions to propose and implement sustainable measures to manage and prevent environmental challenges such as floods.
Other institutions that joined the minister in her visit included the Office of the Vice President, Department of Geology, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Lands, National Road Authority, National Environment Agency, and National Disaster Management Agency.
She explained that a response taskforce for emergency on flood was constituted at the beginning of last year’s rains by the late vice president on the instructions of President Adama Barrow, adding that this year they are not waiting until the rains start before running from one end to the other.
She added that it is difficult to work during the rains, which is why they are starting now as government to act at the right time.
She observed that parts of the Abusi culvert have been blocked by waste dumped by people. She said the dumped waste would in turn affect them during the rainy season.
She therefore appealed to everyone to manage their environment and maintain cleanliness of the neighborhood.
She pointed out that technicians would work to ensure at least waterways are created.
Commenting on certain settlements, she said they would demolish some compounds and compensate owners to relocate.
“It is better for a few people to be affected than the entire community or nation is,” she stated but was quick to specify: “We are not saying that we have to sacrifice some people but we need to fix the problem and to do that, a few people must be affected.”
She further said: “We will also work on a compensation plan. In as much as we will demolish we will work on right procedures to compensate people. Nothing will be adequate but we will make sure by the directives of the law we compensate people accordingly.”
She intimated that some structures do not have the right documents to be where they are but they would still consider them.
She also appealed to those that will be affected to bear with them as compensation would never be enough.