Janjangbureh — The last round of Blanket Supplementary Feeding Programme for children under 5 years recently concluded in the five most affected districts in the Central River Region (CRR).
It could be recalled that when the nation was struck by a massive crop failure in 2011, in which farmers lost over 70 percent of their total crop production, the districts of Janjangbureh, Lower Saloum, Upper Saloum, Upper, Fulladu and Niamina East were among the 19 most affected areas in the country. This thus prompted the support of the government and development partners to avoid disaster and mitigate the plight of the farmers, especially children under five years.
The recent last round of distribution was jointly conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP), National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
Speaking to this reporter shortly after the distribution exercise, the regional disaster management coordinator, Bubacarr Fofana, affirmed that this humanitarian response was triggered by 2011 rainy season, which he said experienced erratic rainfalls both in terms of total amount and special distribution. This, he added, has led to a widespread crop failure of a magnitude that has not been experienced for many years according to some community members. Therefore, Fofana explained, in the quest to address severe crop failure in The Gambia, a partnership for resilience called AGIR- Alliance Global pour I 'Initiative resilience Sahel was formed.
He informed that WFP emergency operation lasted for a period of three months in the most affected districts in the region targeting 17,209 children 6-59 months living in districts with a high prevalence of acute malnutrition.
The disaster coordinator went on to reveal that the just concluded food distribution was conducted on a monthly basis and that items like corn soya blend and oil were provided to the beneficiaries over this period.
He alluded that WFP is the main UN partner supporting the government in developing the institutional and technical capacities of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) in the areas of disaster management and risk reduction, and in providing emergency relief. "In the past years," the disaster managment coordinator went on, "WFP has supported emergency relief efforts arising from flash floods and currently assisting about 12,500 households suffering from harvest failure in the most affected five districts".
Fofana finally commended WFP and partners for their humanitarian assistance to the needy people.