Erratic rainfall, failed crops, and volatile prices for basic household food supplies in 2014 - 2015 continue to affect families in The Gambia, one of Africa's smallest countries. With a population of 1.8 million, many families have struggled over the past year to put food on the table. While preliminary forecasts for the 2015 harvest indicate a significant recovery in cereal production, access to food remains a challenge due to rising prices.
The IFRC has supported The Gambia Red Cross Society in working with its partners to deliver immediate aid to thousands of people, however, more than 100,000 people are still estimated to be facing a food security crisis. Child malnutrition remains of grave concern, particularly in the North Bank and Central River Regions, where chronic malnutrition rates surpass acceptable levels.
The IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal of 1.5 million Swiss francs to support The Gambia Red Cross in providing support to more than 63,000 people. The Appeal remains drastically underfunded at 7 per cent, despite receiving support from partners including the Canadian Red Cross, the Japanese Red Cross Society, and the Red Cross of Monaco.
A donation of 661,000 Swiss francs from the European Commission (ECHO) supported staff and volunteers from The Gambia Red Cross in implementing a cash transfer programme to 16,800 people over three months. A house-to-house nutritional and hygiene promotion campaign also reached more than12,750 people.