State House, 21th May 2019 – His Excellency, President Adama Barrow has hailed the National Disaster Management Agency and partners for rolling out a novel disaster and emergency alert system in The Gambia. According to the President, the technological initiative would assist the country in its disasters preparedness and prevention strategies from both natural and man-made disasters like climate change.
“The climate change effects are making disaster unpredictable each year. Hence we need to be better prepare for it,” President Barrow said, adding that The Gambia’s agricultural production is most affected by natural disasters, especially during the rainy season due to erratic rainfall. He added that several communities suffer from floods each time such heavy downpours occur.
The President made the remarks on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, while receiving in audience a delegation from Global Alert Network – a disaster management technology company based in Germany and the US.
The alert system is a user-friendly mobile technology that will allow the government to monitor and send alerts before disaster strikes. With the new system, information dissemination on disasters or emergencies will be effectively delivered to the public by the government, whilst the NDMA can also mobilise timely and appropriate responses.
Global Alert prides itself in high-quality alert systems that work on cell phones even without any internet connection. After three months of studies and tests with the disaster management agency as the main partner, it has been proven that the technology is ideal for The Gambia. Hence the company’s top executives are in the country to sign agreements to begin works on the ground.
The Gambia will be the first in Africa to use “Alert Africa”, which is a new disaster alert system for the continent. “It works faster than any other technology because it is as simple as a phone call. The alert works in such a way that with a button, every cell phone user gets an instant alert,” Felix Scheurpflug, Chairman of the group told the press after an audience with the President.
Mr. Sanna Dahaba, Managing Director of the NDMA explained the signing comes on the heel of his trip to the USA for the CSW where the mitigation mechanisms that Gambia needs were tabled. Mr. Dahaba noted that the disaster landscape is changing each year due to global warming. Hence the phone alert system will be of great benefit to the country in terms of mitigating the effects of disasters.