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UK donates over D24m to tackle Gambia food crisis

Aug 7, 2012, 11:37 AM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has received a donation £500,000 (amounting to over D24 million) from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID) that will provide much-needed resources for WFP to continue to assist the people affected by the food crisis in The Gambia during the lean season.

The announcement was made yesterday by the UK High Commissioner to The Gambia, David Morley, at a press conference held at the British High Commission.

The UK Department for International Development is funded by the UK taxpayer 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.

Speaking at the press conference, UK High Commissioner David Morley said the donation will go a long way in helping to address the food crisis affecting over 200,000 families across the country.

He told journalists that the money is in addition to the £43 million already donated from the UK to help fight the food crisis across the Sahel region.

The UK, he said, will not sit back whilst children are at risk of starvation in The Gambia, adding that the money would provide life-saving food to over 45,000 Gambian people for over two months.

Vitoria Ginja, WFP Gambia Country Director, expressed gratitude to the British Government for the generous and timely contribution to WFP’s emergency operation in response to the food crisis.

“With this timely contribution , WFP will continue to provide food and nutrition assistance to vulnerable people in the 19 most affected districts of the country,” she said, adding that 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.

She stated that WFP emergency operation in The Gambia is currently targeting 206,000 most vulnerable people through two complementary activities, general food distribution composed of rice and oil to the 206,000 most food insecure people, and blanket supplementary feeding of 25000 children.

While recognizing their responsibility towards long term solutions to the causes of hunger and malnutrition, Mrs Ginja told journalists that WFP Gambia still faces a funding shortfall of US$3.89 million (36%) in the coming three months.

“It’s our conviction that the food crisis in The Gambia can be prevented or their impact significantly reduced if underlying vulnerabilities are confronted and addressed with immediate action,” she stated.

Speaking earlier, Aichatou Diawara Flambert, UNICEF resident representative to The Gambia, said the UN systems 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 noted that despite the magnitude of the crisis and the resource challenges, a scaled-up response campaign was undertaken through partnership of UN agencies and other humanitarian actors in the country.

The UNICEF country representative concluded that with the continued support of the donor community and, in particular, the timely contribution of the UK DFID, the UN systems in The Gambia will be able to provide further food assistance to the most vulnerable population, particularly the children.