A first assessment was prepared by the authorities, Thursday, August 11, after the deadly floods that hit the country at the beginning of August: 11 dead and more than 5,047 people displaced. According to Gambia’s crisis management agency, it was the worst flood in nearly half a century.
as reported from Banjul, Milan Berckmans
On Tobacco Road, one of the places hardest hit by the floods in Banjul, Mbayang Joof, a 45-year-old mother, points to the mark of the water in her room, 40 centimeters from the ground: “Nobody left I can’t sleep here, because the house was flooded and all the beds were full of water, so blocks had to be put on the floor to put the mattresses up so they could at least dry out. But since the floods, nobody sleeps there anymore.”
After a night in the water, Mbayang and his family sought refuge at the Saint-Augustine School in Banjul. Only the youngest and a few elderly remain, while families try to salvage what they can from their homes. Among the children, Demba Dibbah, a 75-year-old dean, says: “Such rain, I have only seen it once in my life. It was a long time ago, in 1974. Since then, I have not seen anything like it. Generally, when it rains , the water flows towards the river.
At this high school in Gambia’s capital, the authorities and the Red Cross provided a large double mattress for each of the 59 families present, as well as food and medical care.
But as Ebrima Ceesay, the manager of this shelter, explains, some people won’t be able to return home: “It’s so devastating. A woman just told me she didn’t think she could get back to her apartment , because the walls are so worn that they could collapse in. It takes a lot of strategy and thinking to see how to manage from one situation to another.
According to the latest estimates from the Gambia Red Cross, almost 200 homes were destroyed during these floods, which in total affected more than 1,600 homes. Starting next week, the Red Cross will distribute money to the victims, compensation ranging from 5,250 to 25,550 dalasis (about 100 to 500 euros), depending on the seriousness of the claim.