More funding needed for vital resilience programmes in The Gambia
(Banjul/Dakar, 26 June 2013): The UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Robert Piper, completed a visit to The Gambia where he met senior Government officials, the humanitarian and development community, donors and the media. During his mission, Mr. Piper also visited school feeding programmes supported by the Government and the World Food Programme.
“The Gambian Government has placed agriculture, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation as high on the policy agenda as any Government in the region” observed Mr. Piper during a meeting in Banjul. “Local and international actors need to come together in The Gambia to help build these critical building blocks for the greater resilience of the Gambian people. With a sense of urgency that acknowledges the suffering that characterized the 2012 situation” he added.
The Gambia was among the 9 Sahel countries that suffered from a severe food security and nutrition crisis in 2012. About 605,000 people were affected in the country. In the same year, flooding affected at least 35,000. The Government, the United Nations and partners responded quickly and provided food assistance to more than 200,000 people; some 3,000 acutely malnourished children were also treated.
For 2013, humanitarian actors estimate that some 103,000 people are still food insecure in the country and 29,500 children are at risk of Global Acute Malnutrition and 4,000 children of Severe Acute Malnutrition. To address the needs of the affected communities, still recovering from last year’s food and nutrition crisis, more funding is needed for The Gambia response and recovery plan amounting to more some US$ 15 million. The plan has only received US$ 328,000 that was injected in nutrition programs.
The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator remains very concerned about the situation in the Sahel region where weather-related crises are becoming more frequent and severe malnutrition endemic among children. Recurrent food crises, compounded today by the Mali conflict, are eroding the resilience of millions of vulnerable households.
The food security and nutrition situation is expected to remain critical during the lean season and it is therefore vital that immediate humanitarian needs are met. The humanitarian community has appealed for over $1.7 billion to help millions in need this year in the Sahel region. However, to date the Sahel appeal is only 36 per cent funded.
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