GAMBIA HEADING FOR FOOD STARVATION NOT FOOD SUFFICIENCY! WARNS UN, AS 200,000 NEED URGENT FOOD AID

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UN Country Rep: Ade Mamonyane

UN Country Rep: Ade Mamonyane

At least 200,000 Gambians are in need of urgent food aid and a third of the country’s 1.8 million people are food insecure, according to United Nations. These are the grim realities of Yahya Jammeh’s Gambia. A complete contrast to the phantasms of the Gambian Dictator that the country will become food self sufficient in 24 months time, 2016.  

The reality according to the UN resident coordinator in The Gambia, Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje: “The food security situation in The Gambia is deteriorating. Today, a third of Gambia’s 1.8 million inhabitants are food insecure. Of those, 200,000 have already crossed the emergency threshold and need urgent food assistance. Across the country, 5

0,000 children are acutely malnourished, 8,000 of them in the highest category of severity. The work of humanitarian teams who are trying to help communities through these harsh times is greatly challenged. Resources are coming too little and too late. Since the beginning of humanitarian operations in The Gambia in 2012, the effort has been chronically under-funded. Last year, only 2% of the US$ 15 million required for the humanitarian response was secured; the lowest level of funding received of all Sahel countries in 2013. This year, US$ 1.3 million are required to address the needs of the country’s most vulnerable. 

“Priority interventions include food, nutrition and agricultural assistance in addition to support increased access to water, sanitation and health services. To date only US$4 million or 21 per cent of the funded needed has been received. Despite major crises unfolding around the globe and in the region, the needs of vulnerable Gambians must not be overlooked. We are entering a critical season with risks of locust invasion, epidemics and floods where needs will increase. Coping capacities of Gambian communities have been challenged in recent years, with more frequent droughts and floods. Without timely support, communities are going deeper into poverty with every shock”.

Robert Piper, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel to the meeting: “The rainy season started weeks late in The Gambia and when the rains eventually came,they were erratic and probably insufficient to salvage the season. A bad harvest can have dire consequences for the food security of thousands of families and badly impact the nutritional status of their children”.

Despite the grim realities facing the populace, the Gambia government through its Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Kebba Touray and the Minister of Health and Social Affairs of The Gambia Omar Sey continued on their dogmatic position by claiming to the meeting that the Government’s had increased agricultural production and resilience-building, as well as plans for improved health coverage and Ebola preparedness could assist the country in helping its citizenry.

“Our Government is committed to building the resilience of poorest households in the Gambia for the mid to long term and this is demonstrated through an increase in budget allocation to the agriculture and health sector. But in the meantime, current emergency needs in The Gambia caused by external shocks such as the erratic rainfall pattern and the need for Ebola preparedness require collaboration and support from our partners,” Kebba Touray told the meeting.

Whilst the Minister for Social Welfare, Omar Sey maintained that The Gambia is pushing to be food self-sufficient by 2016. “We are encouraging every Gambian to grow what you eat and eat what you grow, so that we can be food self-sufficient by 2016. Rice and other commodities that can be grown in The Gambia will not be imported,” Sey told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the donor meeting.

“The Gambia will no longer need to depend on rain irrigation as the government is moving to take water from the River Gambia, which divides the country in two, as a more reliable source of water.”

Editors Note:

Its time Gambians come to realise that the Gambia government is actuality the problem and not the solution to the country’s food shortage. As noted by the UN representatives, who care much about the welfare of the Gambian populace, unlike the Gambia government officials, who are interested in face lifting of a terrible record of this government, the Gambians are getting poorer and poorer by the day and many are dying of starvation in the country.

It is already a banal knowledge that the Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, had been converting food aid to the poor Gambian populace to precious commodities for profit for his immeasurable and innumerate Kanilai Farm Business conglomerate. These callous and wicked actions of the Gambian Dictator had immensely contributed in exacerbating the country’s food insecurity for the poor. The promise of food sufficiency come 2016 is simply nothing more than a lullaby to a starving nation…

 It ought to be crystallised to all sound and sundry that, until the Gambian President abandoned his arrogance, truancy and bunker mindedness towards the Gambia’s benevolent donors; such as the European Union and US, many more Gambians will die of hunger come 2016.  


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