|WFP’s country director|
Rural women in the Upper Baddibu District on Wednesday 22 gathered at Ngeyen Sanjal, most of whose children were identified malnourished that needed referral for specialized treatment to receive food for their children.
As the world’s forefront organisation fighting hunger, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the European Union gave out vegetable oil and micronutrient fortified super cereal to save young children from malnutrition and death, especially in the hunger season.
The WFP, jointly with the National Nutrition Agency, targeted 25, 000 children under five for three months living in 14 districts with high rates of wasting which is above 10 percent and experiencing food stress in Ngeyen Sanjal.
Each month, every child will receive 6 kg of the cereal and 450g of oil up to October 2012 which are to be cooked together to improve the taste and quality of the child’s meal.
“I have seen different faces of hunger and all of them are gruesome” WFP’s country director and representative said during a site- visit of the Blanket Supplementary Feeding and food distribution.
Victoria Ginja said if each child was asked to narrate his/her experience when they felt hungry, all answers would be gloomy.
She added that hungry children look terrifying and sad. “For every hungry child, their experience is much worse. They cry, get wasted, and have no appetite, absolutely helpless yet, they are growing physically and mentally,” she said.
As much as WFP is committed, she said, “We are still facing a resource shortfall amounting to 1.9 million (18%) for the next two months”.
Madi Ceesay, Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, thanked the WFP and the international community for responding to the humanitarian appeal made by the government in 2011 to mitigate the distress to the farming communities and vulnerable group the impact of the crop failure in the 2011/12 farming season.
“The financial and material contribution donated has positively alleviated the suffering of the affected communities and would have been worsened had it not been for the timely intervention from WFP and friends of The Gambia.
According to him, the emergency food assistance is targeting 206,000 people severely affected by the 2011/12 crop failure. These, he said, are smallholder farmers who lost their crops due to the drought.
However, he told the gathering that the government could not provide for those who need assistance due to limited resources.
Governor Lamin Queen Jammeh, North Bank region, on his part, called on the community to put more effort on cultivating the land and planting enough food. He also urged them to use organic manure because fertilizers are expensive.
Beneficiaries queuing for the supplies applauded the efforts made by the donors and said the support came at the right time.