#National News

GRCS supports displaced people, hosts with cash

Apr 20, 2022, 11:34 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) last Thursday provided unconditional cash transfer assistance to 932 households covering internally displaced people, host families, refugees and migrants, who have temporarily sought refuge in about 50 villages within the Fonis and the Kombos.

The cash disbursement programme seeks to provide subsidiary food assistance (un-restricted) to households of the affected population for initial period of one month with an amount D5,250 per household.

It could be recalled that in January 2022, exchange of gun battle erupted between Senegalese soldiers serving the ECOWAS military intervention in The Gambia (ECOMIG) and the MFDC separatists.

The violence led to the death of two Senegalese ECOMIG soldiers, with seven other soldiers taken into custody by the MFDC separatists. This unfortunate tension further resulted in the forceful displacements of a total of 2,464 people, comprising 2,204 internally displaced people (IDP) and 260 people from host families.

The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) launched the first Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) for food and basic needs of the affected population.

Less than two months later (in March 2022) the Armed Forces of Senegal launched an offensive in Cassamance against the MFDC. The resurgence of violence prompted wide population movement on both sides of the border.

Senegalese and Gambians alike fled the area of the conflict and made their way to villages along the Trans-Gambia Highway and beyond. Some of those who fled are women, children and the elderly, as most men, who initially were unwilling to leave their property and livelihoods behind, have now vacated the affected area.

The GRCS senior management carried out a monitoring visit to the affected communities and Abdoulie Fye, Director of Programs and Operations for The Gambia Red Cross Society, recently told reporters in Bwiam that as a humanitarian organisation, they have a responsibility to support affected people where there are humanitarian needs which is why they have been in Foni carrying out different interventions.

The interventions, Mr. Fye said are currently supported by the International Federation for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC) though the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) and ECOSOC respectively.

Fye indicated that prior to the unconditional cash transfer intervention, they were also able to support over 300 households with D7, 872 each as well as supported households with non-food items to ensure decent living.

“If the tensions continue in Cassamance, they will continue to roll-out  another cash transfer for only displaced households but noted that they expect the conflict to be solved before then for families to return to their homes and prepare for the forthcoming farming season.”

These interventions, Fye continued, are supported by the International Federation for Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (IFRC) and International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC) though the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).

Modou Lamin Kujabi, a native of Kanilai, who fled his home with seven 7 members of his family to seek refuge in Bwiam due to the escalating tension, is among those who benefited from the unconditional cash transfer support.

“We fled almost with nothing but thanks to The Gambia Red Cross Society and partners’ support, we are able to live a dignified life, settle debt, seek medical attention and buy basic food commodities.”

He therefore thanked GRCS and partners for their humanitarian assistance.

Another beneficiary, Amie Bojang, who fled from Cassamance, said the assistance really improved their lives and livelihood.

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