A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
From 30 to 31 July 2022, heavy rains hit several regions of The Gambia, leading to widespread flooding. Some houses have been so severely affected that the occupants had to be evacuated to public buildings such as mosques and schools for safety.
The most affected regions are Banjul, Kanifing Municipality, West Coast, and North Bank. In North Bank Region, five children have been reported dead and one is in critical condition and under treatment as a result of the thunderstorm that accompanied the rains on 30 July 2022. One other person is also reported dead in the West Coast Region. At the time of writing this EPoA, some roads are not yet accessible due to the overflow of rainwater. According to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), approximately 1,961 households are affected as of 31 July 2022. However, data verification done by GRCS as of 02 August 2022, shows that 606 households (7,021 people) are affected so far, with damages to their shelters, food, and latrines. This verification exercise is still ongoing and more verified data is expected to be obtained from GRCS volunteers in the field.
Preliminary information obtained as of 01 August 2022 from the first situational report produced by the NDMA indicates that a total of 17,201 people from 1,961 households have been affected. The impacts include destruction of houses, food stock, toilet facilities, and household items.
According to GRCS personnel in the field, some of the displaced households are currently being sheltered by relatives, host families, schools, mosques, health facilities, and uncompleted buildings. Preliminary information reports the destruction of several houses, and food storage facilities in the affected communities. However, in the process of developing this EPoA, data verification conducted by GRCS teams of volunteers, substantiated by informal reporting sources such as social media posts and print media platforms, indicate a sharp increase in the number of affected people and households in the impacted regions. In fact, many social media outlets are publishing images and information about the flood situation.
The Vice President of The Gambia, during his visit to communities affected by the heavy rainfall, disclosed that the government is working on plans to come up with a resettling scheme for people residing in waterway areas to solve the flooding which people have been grappling with for years around the Greater Banjul Areas.
Prior to the outpour, the Meteorological Department had indicated slight to moderate rain and thunderstorms across the country during the night of Saturday 30 July and torrential, moderate to heavy rain and thunderstorms was expected across the country from the early hours of Sunday 31 July, until late in the afternoon which might result to flash flooding over areas prone to flooding. Moderate to heavy rainfall is forecasted until 05 August, reproducing similar patterns to those observed in the country on 01 and 02 August. Indeed, according to The Gambia’s Daily Weather Forecast issued by The Department of Water Resources, thunderstorms and rain are expected across the country from late afternoon towards the end of the forecasted period.
The Gambia has a sub-tropical climate with sunshine throughout the year and average temperatures between 29°C and 34°C. The rainy season runs from June to September and sometimes beyond. The country has experienced over the past few years, extensive downpours causing severe destruction as a results of poor drainage systems, deforestation, felling of trees for new settlements (new estate developers) etc., causing floods, destruction and untold suffering. The rainy/farming season has just begun with forecasts indicating intermitted heavy rainfall accompanied by severe windstorms. These imminent precipitations may further complicate the situation and severe consequences on the rural population in particular is expected.