UK drops £500,000 into Gambia’s food aid basket
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
The government of the United Kingdom through its Department for International Development (DfID) Monday announced it is donating £500,000, equivalent to over D24M to The Gambia to help mitigate the impact of the food crisis that hit the country as a result of crop failure blamed on erratic rainfall during last year’s farming season.
commissioner to The Gambia, David Morley made the announcement on Monday at a
press conference held at the British High Commission offices at Atlantic Road,
Fajara. The money
will be given to the World Food programme (WFP) in The Gambia to purchase and
distribute 1,096 tons of lifesaving food to over 45, 000 Gambians over the next
two months. High Commissioner Morley noted that the 500, 000 pounds will go a
long way in helping to address the food crisis affecting over 200,000 families
across the country.
“This money is in addition to the 43 million pounds already donated by the UK
to help fight the food crisis across the Sahel region. The United Kingdom will
not sit back whilst children are at risk of starvation in The Gambia. The money
should provide lifesaving food to over 45,000 Gambia people for over two
disclosed that in addition to the extra 500, 000 pounds, the UK government had
in June announced it would increase its assistance to the Sahel region by a
further 10 million pounds making the UK’s contribution to the Sahel food crisis
to over 43 million pounds.
high commissioner explained that the UK Department for International
Development is funded by the UK taxpayers and is committed to lifting millions
of people out of poverty, getting children into school and preventing
unnecessary deaths from disease or inadequate medical treatment. He said the
majority of UK aid is provided to countries via non-governmental agencies such
as the World Food programme where the UK does not apply conditionality
Also speaking at the briefing, Aichatou Diawara- Flambet, Unicef representative said the late and unevenly distributed and erratic rainfall during the 2011-2012 cropping season led to a significant decline and poor quality harvest in The Gambia. She stated that overall crop production is estimated to have dropped by 62% compared to 2010 and by 50 % compared to the past five years average. “The shock left farmers and the rural population with significantly reduced food stocks. As a result, the food and nutrition security of the farming community has been largely compromised,” she further stated.
The Unicef rep. lamented that the prevalence of acute malnutrition among children under-five has increased in the last five years to alert levels (9.5%). She also revealed that according to the 2010 multi-indicator cluster survey, the prevalence of acute malnutrition at the national level peaked by 3.3 per cent between 2005 and 2010. “On the 29th of March 2012, the UN system in The Gambia intervened with emergency measures in response to the government’s declaration of crop failure and requested for assistance from the humanitarian community,” she added.
Ginja, World Food Programme country representative on behalf of the United
Nations Food Programme and the people of The Gambia, expressed sincere
gratitude to the British government for the generous and timely contribution to
WFP’s emergency operation in response to the food crisis.
“With timely contribution, WFP will continue to provide food and nutrition
assistance to the vulnerable people in the 19 most affected districts of the
country. Thanks to the confirmation of this contribution, WFP will procure a
total of 1,096 metric tons of rice enough to feed 45,000 beneficiaries under
the general food distribution for two months. WFP’s emergency operation in The
Gambia is currently targeting 206, 000 most vulnerable people through two
Ginja explained that the first activity is general food distributions composed of rice and oil to the 206,000 most food insecure people while the second is blanket supplementary feeding for 25,000 children under five with Super Cereal (a corn soya blend) and oil that are micronutrient fortified to prevent acute malnourishment during the lean period.
continued support of donors and other partners, we can ensure that the
immediate food and nutrient needs of the most vulnerable people are met in the
current emergency operation,” she assured. She
however, announced that WFP Gambia still faces a funding shortfall of US$3.89
million (36%) in the coming three months. “But, we also recognise our
responsibility to contribute towards long-term solution to the causes of hunger
and malnutrition,” she added.
Author: by Omar Wally & Alieu Ceesay