30 November 2012

Gambia: The Disaster Victims Are Still Waiting

The Government should bear in mind that many disaster victims especially in the Baati Njol area are still waiting for assistance. The victims are saying that giving rice and oil to people who do not have a roof over their head is not an appropriate gesture.

Many people whose houses had been destroyed during the rainy season are hoping to get cement and corrugated iron sheets to restore their buildings.

A victim from the area did ask Foroyaa to find out how much assistance has been given to flood victims in the Mamut Fana and Bat Njol area and what form of assistance has been given so that they would know what they are entitled to.

Some of the victims explained that in the past when such disasters occur they would rush to their family members who own businesses in the urban area for assistance. They argue that because of the growing deterioration of the business climate the earnings of their relatives are going down, thus making it impossible for them to rescue their relatives in the rural areas.

Our investigation reveals that hardship is hitting the first generation of rural investors who happened to have gone abroad to earn capital and then establish retail and whole sale businesses in the urban areas. During the boom they made reasonable profits and build homes in the urban areas to relocate their immediate families. A number of them provided opportunity for their relatives to have a place to stay to transact personal affairs. This huge extended family burden of the successful businessmen combined with the drop in earning capacity is having impact in reducing their ability to give solidarity to family members who become victims of flood or poor harvests.

The farmers are now increasingly turning to the state for answers. Foroyaa will be following the developments to find out whether the Government will deliver or not.

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