Dida Sambou collected a food ration for her ill mother. WFP / Barbara Gerold
At the end of April, WFP launched its food assistance activities in Oukout in the Ziguinchor region of Senegal. In total, WFP aims to assist over 800,000 people in Senegal this year as part of its response to the food crisis in the Sahel region.
OUKOUT - In Oukout, 14,000 of the most vulnerable people hit by the recent poor harvest are receiving rice, maize, oil, and salt to cover their basic needs during the lean season, which has started early this year.
"One of the regions worst-affected by the food crisis"
Senegal’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Benoît Sambou and WFP Senegal Country Director Ingeborg Maria Breuer both attended the launch of the first food distributions carried out by WFP’s partner organization Africare.
“We chose Oukout for the launch of WFP’s response, as Ziguinchor is one of the regions worst-affected by the food crisis,” said Breuer, adding that vulnerable areas were identified through surveys conducted in February and March by WFP, partner NGOs and the government of Senegal.
"The joint assessments identified 100 vulnerable zones, where the levels of food insecurity sometimes exceed 59 percent. One of them was Ziguinchor,” said Breuer.
Increasing food security
Newly appointed Minister Benoît Sambou underlined that during his tenure, he will do everything he can in order to ensure that such large-scale food insecurity does not return to Senegal in the future.
“I invite all partners to join our efforts to make sure that in the years to come, Senegalese people have enough to eat and farmers are actually able to make ends meet,” he said.
"The little harvest we had is just not enough"
Dida Sambou, a woman who has come to the distribution site in order to pick up her ill mother’s ration, explained how this year has been the hardest to feed her family that she has ever experienced.
“We have never been dependent on food assistance and my seven children and I have always managed somehow to support the whole family including my mother,” she said.
“It hurts me, but this year, there was not much rain, and the little harvest we had is just not enough to feed all of us. We are therefore grateful that WFP is supporting my mother, the most vulnerable member of our family, with a one-month ration today.”
Supporting the efforts of the Government to respond to the food crisis, WFP will provide assistance to over 739,000 people in rural areas and almost 70,000 in urban areas this year. Food assistance will be delivered through various modalities and activities, including targeted distributions of food and cash vouchers, cereal bank reinforcement and food-for-assets activities, which help to improve the resilience of vulnerable households. WFP will also provide nutritional support to more than 100,000 malnourished children and mothers.
In order to tackle the food crisis declared in Senegal, and to protect the food security and the livelihoods of the most vulnerable people in this difficult period, WFP needs to mobilize over US$ 50 million. To date, US$ 22 million have been raised. To carry through activities until the next harvest in October, additional contributions are urgently needed.