Monday, June 17, 2024

Understanding the evolving flood hazard map of the Gambia: A call to action

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By: Muhammed Hydara
Environmentalist and Human Right Enthusiast

Over the past few years, the Gambia has relied on the flood hazard map based on data from ESA (2017) and Geofabrik (2019) as a valuable resource. However, with the map’s development dating back to 2019 by the World Bank, it is crucial to acknowledge that our understanding of flood-prone areas may have evolved since then. Recent events, particularly a surge in heavy downpours, have exposed the vulnerability of the URR community, previously unidentified as a critical flood-prone region. This raises significant questions about the underlying causes of these flood occurrences in the highland areas of our country.

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The increased flooding in the highland areas of URR can be attributed to a combination of factors, including deforestation, inadequate drainage systems, and climate change. Deforestation reduces the natural water absorption capacity, while inadequate drainage systems hinder water flow. Additionally, climate change contributes to more intense rainfall events, exacerbating the situation. It is imperative that we address these issues promptly to mitigate the impacts of heavy downpours.

To combat the ongoing crisis, it is crucial to implement reforestation efforts to restore natural water absorption capacity, improve drainage infrastructure, and develop climate-resilient strategies. In collaboration with international organizations and local communities, the government must take immediate action to protect vulnerable communities and prevent further damage.

The devastating consequences of the recent floods have left hundreds of households in the Gambian upcountry damaged, and an astonishing 2000 people grappling with the aftermath. These individuals have lost their homes, belongings, and most importantly, their sense of security. We cannot afford to stand idly by while our fellow citizens suffer.

We call upon the global community, environmental activists, policymakers, and concerned individuals to join forces and prioritize the urgent needs of The Gambia. The time for action is now. Let us come together to address the root causes, implement effective solutions, and support those affected by this disaster.

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Muhammed Hydara
Environmentalist and Human Right Enthusiast
Twitter: @muhammed_hydara
Email: [email protected]

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