By Nelson Manneh
The distribution of Government’s COVID-19 Food Relief has started at ‘Bundung Six’ junction on Monday, 1st June to members of the Ward. The distributed items were rice, sugar and cooking oil.
The distribution of the food items is part of Government’s food relief aid project amounting to seven hundred and thirty-four million (GMD734, 254, 864), aimed at supporting 84% of deserving households countrywide. The ‘Bundung Six’ junction Ward received 2,000 bags of rice, 2,000 bags of sugar and 721 containers of 20 liter cooking oil for onward distribution to 2,702 registered households.
Alhagie Abubacarr Sillah, the Secretary-General of the Bundung Ward Development Committee said they have established a committee responsible for the food aid distribution.
‘‘We raised funds and assigned some members of the committee to collect data of deserving households within the Ward and the process lasted for ten days. The committee went from household to household to discuss with compound heads and collect their details. The collected data was submitted to the National Disaster Management Agency’s Office (NDMA) at the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) who then provided us with coupons which we give to the household heads for them to collect their food items. The distribution started on Monday but we have started receiving complaints from people, that their names were not captured during the data collection,’’ Sillah told this reporter.
Sillah concurred that some people were not captured during the data collection; that this was not the fault of the committee because they entered in all compounds; that maybe, some individual household heads were not met in their houses at the time or they have gone for their personal errands; that the committee cannot be blamed for this anomaly.
He said right now what they are doing is the distribution of coupons to the beneficiaries.
“Households less than five people are entitled to 25kg of rice, households with above five people but less than ten have 50kg and the least goes like that but we have not yet received households that have more ten people,” he said. Sillah said the process at ‘Bundung Six’ junction is unique because it is inclusive and everyone participates in it.
Ismaila Drammeh, the NDMA representative on the ground told this reporter that the distribution process everywhere is slow.
“Since on Monday we were only able to distribute 300 bags of rice, sugar and oil,” he said; that the beneficiaries do not observe any social distancing on the ground; that they want the process to be faster because the food items are exposed to the sun for so long and termites have started affecting some bags of rice and sugar,” he said.
Drammeh further said they have not yet received any complaints and they are trying to make sure all beneficiaries get their share.
Dawda Cham, the Chairperson of Bundung Ward Development Committee said the challenges they face is that some people do not know where to collect their coupons; that some have not registered at all; that some have registered in Latrikunda Sabaji and so forth, but come to Bundung to collect the food items.
He said: “We have a supplementary list where we write the names and other details of all those who have not registered at all. This list will be sent to the NDMA and if there are any leftovers, we will call them and give it to them.”
Fatou Camara, a resident of the Ward said she has sat and waited for her share of her food relief but could not receive anything from the distributors; that she enquired but was told to wait because they are following the coupons so that no one will receive twice.