18 July 2012

West Africa: Gambia to Benefit From WFP's Sahel Relief Support

The Gambia is among seven West African countries to benefit from an AU contribution of US$450,000 towards WFP's Sahel relief.The other countries are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

According to reports monitired fromAPA, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed the contribution from the African Union Commission (AUC) saying the contribution will be used by WFP to provide food assistance to the most vulnerable, including refugees and internally displaced people in the said countries.

"This is the first time that the African Union Commission has contributed directly to the operations of the World Food Programme," said Ertharin Cousin, WFP's Executive Director in a statement issued in Nairobi. "The humanitarian needs in the Sahel are immense and the time for action is now.

We are extremely grateful for the timely involvement of the AUC" the statement said. According to WFP, throughout the Sahel region, the frequent recurrence of droughts has left people with little time and insufficient resources to fully recover.

They have sold their livestock and exhausted their savings. High food prices this year are also making the 'hunger season' especially hard on the poorest of the poor, said the WFP. "Preventing and treating malnutrition among children and pregnant or nursing mothers is at the core of WFP's response to the Sahel crisis.

The most vulnerable also receive assistance through food distributions or cash transfers that allow them to purchase food on local markets," added the statement. Between now and the end of the year, WFP is aiming to provide food assistance to over 10 million people in the Sahel region.

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