Fury in Wellingara over distribution of covid-19 relief package

Jun 10, 2020, 12:43 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Inhabitants of Wellingara in the West Coast Region (WCR) have expressed with utmost dissatisfaction the way and manner in which the government covid-19 food package is being distributed within the area.

President Adama Barrow in April this year launched the food relief package with the delivery of 230, 000 bags of 50kg broken rice, 230, 000 bags of 50kg sugar and 148, 000 10-liter refined cooking oil to the country’s 84 percent vulnerable group.

“It’s so disheartening the way the rice and sugar is being distributed within the community. In fact, what’s more painful is the fact that those that are responsible for distributing the rice and sugar claim that the food aid tickets that were meant for Wellingara Central and Wellingara East have been “misplaced”. I can clearly tell you that all the compounds around the distribution centres didn’t get their rice and sugar,” Mariama Ceesay, a dissatisfied resident of the area told The Point, when our reporter visited the distribution centre on Monday.

“The way and manner in which the food aid is being distributed is totally “frustrating and in fact, it’s not fair at all”. How can other community that are far from the distribution centres get their share of the food aid while we living around the centre still didn’t get ours?”

She claimed that those that are tasked to do the distributed are the people going around their family compounds and give them tickets, something she said, is not the objective of the government food relief package.

“The rice is meant for Gambians and non-Gambians that are living in the country, thus there should be transparency and level playing field in the way and manner it’s distributed. The last time they told us that our tickets are in Brikama Wellingara and today they are saying that our tickets are in Youna.”

Haddy Jammeh, another resident, expressing her frustration stated that what’s even worrying for them is the fact that their tickets hadn’t come and most of the rice has already been distributed.

“The way people are gathering here just to get government food aid is not even safe for us; taking into account that we’re in the coronavirus pandemic. People are not observing social distancing as per World Health Organisation and other expert guidelines and safety precautionary measures.”

“We have been coming here since last week in order to get our share of the food aid. Every day, we arrived at the distribution centre as early as 7a.m. in the morning. Unfortunately, we’re told that our tickets are misplaced. How can that happen? They were the people that went around and wrote our names. So, how can they claim our tickets are misplaced?

Saikou Joof, the alkalo of Wellingara said the delay was from Brikama.

“We’re also getting our supply in Brikama and at the moment I don’t get the tickets for these two areas.”

He expressed optimism that all those that have registered their names will get their rice and sugar, while urging the people to exercise patience.

He, however, dismissed rumours that some tickets have been misplaced.