Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gambia Food Crisis: 14M to feed north and lower regions

The effect of the Sahel drought
The Gambia Red Cross Society, GRCS, Monday launch a food provision support to worth over D14 million meant to feed Gambians living in the rural North Bank and Lower River regions.

The initiative dubbed “Operation Food Security” will last for a period of four months.

The local humanitarian agency said it raised the money with support from partners, securing D4, 800,039.58 from DREF fund, and D9, 900,000 from Icelandic Red Cross.

During a press conference on July 2, 2012, the GRCS revealed it had appealed from donors D28, 519, 264 and a bilateral Spanish Red Cross partnership of D7, 353, 742.50, but is now faced with a funding gap of D13, 819, 224.42.

Rural farmers in Gambia are faced with a hunger crisis following last year’s crop failure, which has been blamed on scarcity of rains. It took the Gambia Government close to six months before it declared an emergency on the scarcity of food on March 6, 2012. 

“288, 000 kilograms of 5760 50kg bags of rice, 48,000 liters of 2400, 20 liter gallons of oil and 144,450 kilograms of 2889, 50 kg bags of seeds will be distributed among 6000 people in the North Bank and Lower River Regions,” Mr. Buba Darboe, Disaster Relief Coordinator GRCS said. “The total beneficiary population for seeds in both regions is 39,000 of 5778 families.”

He said 5000 beneficiaries will receive at least four sessions of targeted hygiene promotion to ensure behavior change and an estimated 10,000 children under 5, pregnant and Lactating Women will benefit from health and nutrition services including nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, screening and referral of malnourished cases.

Simply, the four months emergency relief assistance will see each person given 12kilogramms of rice per person with seeds, cash voucher cost of 50kg bags of fertilizers per farmer (of 5778 farmers). Phase two of the disaster risk reduction will support women gardening and capacity building of Red Cross volunteers.

Mr. Ebrima Sanneh, President of GRCS said his agency manifested a very high level of commitment to the course of humanity, and had worked diligently and tirelessly in order to supplement government’s efforts to alleviate the conditions of vulnerable communities.

He said the ambition of the Red Cross is to continue to advocate making communities stronger and resilient.
This, he said, is being done by helping communities better prepare for disasters and emergencies; increasing access to healthcare or raising awareness around the lack of safe access to health care in armed conflict and other emergencies; and building a culture of non violence and peace on the face of major world challenges, such as climate change, conflict and violence, urbanization and migration. 

In 2009, the global body of the Red Cross signed the Solferino Declaration, a document committing it to do more, do better and reach further in serving vulnerable people across the world. It has since continued to gain significant impact in the lives of communities ravaged by disasters around the world, including Gambia.

Source: The Voice

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