By Ousman A. Marong
The people of Barra, Essau, Mayamba and Chamen have recently shown their dismay at the inadequate presidential food aid distribution in the North Bank Region (NBR).
“These foodstuff would not be sufficient for distribution between the four communities of Barra, Essau, Mayamba and Chamen. Imagine two thousand bags of rice to be distributed to these four big communities. The two thousand (2000) bags of rice would not be even enough for Mayamba alone as the smallest community in the region,” said Ndey Cham, a beneficiary
According to Ms Cham, the food distribution is untimely arguing that the presidential food supply is often not provided at the right time. She made these complaints during the ongoing food distribution in Essau.
This reporter has confirmed the 2000 bags of rice together with 960 bags of sugar and 143 drums of oil to be distributed to the four communities of Barra, Essau, Mayamba and Chamen.
The surge COVID-19 Pandemic has prompted food insecurity fears in Africa, with some countries such as Senegal who had already experienced rising prices, panic-buying and import-export disruptions. The Gambia is among the African countries feeling the negative impact of the Novel coronavirus on food security systems. More than 1000 cases have been recorded so far, with at least 23 deaths in this nation of about 1.9 million people. President Adama Barrow through the Government Spokesman, last week declared a State of Public Emergency and nationwide curfew closing the airspace, land and sea borders. A day earlier, he directed the closure of all mosques, churches and prohibited public gatherings and made the wearing of facemask mandatory.
Many people went into panicked buying food and basic supplies as they go into isolation in their homes.
The Councillor of Essau Ward, Mr Kebba Jallow said the food supply is insufficient and suggested that priority should be given to the less privileged.
“The foodstuff is not sufficient. I believe it should be given to the less privilege ones. This Is what the government Promised and if this is the case then there is nothing that we could do other than to give it to the less privilege,” he remarked.
Maimuna Joof from Barra also noted that the panic buying and soaring food prices have sent clear warnings to all Gambians that the country is facing difficult times.
“The situation will only get worse if the [virus] situation persists,” she said.
It could be recall that last April President Adama Barrow had launched a COVID-19 Food Aid Project worth D734, 2525, 864 to 84% of needy Gambian households. Since then the government of the Gambia has distributed 360,000 bags of 50kg of 100% broken rice, 50kg bags of sugar and 10 litre drums of refined cooking oil to needy Gambian citizens across the country.