Casamance is being hard hit by the drought and poor harvests currently affecting the entire Sahel region. In the Fogny area, the ICRC is completing a distribution of food rations sufficient to cover families' basic needs for four months.
"People here were already suffering the effects of the Casamance conflict," said Fabienne Deraemaeker, who heads the ICRC office in Ziguinchor. "Then came the 2011 drought and the resulting crop failure." The ICRC is delivering food to places to which the security situation has made access difficult.
Some 34,000 people from 128 villages (in the rural districts of Djibidione, Djinaky, Kataba 1, Sindian, Oulampane, Diacounda, Bona, Dandion, Mangana and Inor) are receiving rations consisting mainly of rice, peas, lentils, cooking oil, salt and seeds. The ICRC is coordinating part of its operation with the World Food Programme (WFP).
"Rice and other crops weren't good last year," said Alphousseyni Diedhiou, who lives in the village of Balignane. "Until now, no-one has offered to help us, so this aid comes as a great relief. The people who live around here are pretty exhausted." The Senegalese authorities and various humanitarian organizations are currently coming to the aid of thousands of families in a similar situation.
The ICRC has been present in Casamance since 2004. It strives to protect and assist people affected by the conflict there.