See also:
» 26.03.2014 - Famine warning: "South Sudan is imploding"
» 26.06.2013 - "Uncontrolled locust plague" hitting Madagascar
» 15.11.2006 - Guinea-Bissau's cashew crops rot as prices plummet
» 11.09.2006 - Guinea-Bissau unable to sell cashew harvest
» 05.05.2006 - Famine warning issued in Guinea-Bissau
» 20.01.2005 - Portugal aids Guinea-Bissau fighting locusts
» 10.01.2005 - Locust invasion causes panic in Bissau
» 14.11.2003 - Bissau food crisis deteriorates

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Agriculture - Nutrition

Food aid distributed in Guinea-Bissau

afrol News, 5 June - Distribution of food supplies and rice and groundnut seed in north-western Guinea-Bissau started this week. The otherwise fertile but impoverished country suffered from low rainfalls last year, causing acute poverty and food shortages.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today reported it had begun distributing food supplies and rice and groundnut seed to over 20,000 people living near the town of São Domingos in north-western Guinea-Bissau, "an area where poverty has been aggravated by the low rainfall of 2007," according to a Red Cross statement sent out from Dakar.

São Domingos is located closely to the southern Senegalese Casamance region, en route between Dakar and Bissau. The lowlands here normally are green and fertile, receiving water both from rainfall and the many rivers reaching the Atlantic in the region. However, widespread poverty makes the population vulnerable to even small irregularities in precipitation.

According to the ICRC, the recipients of the aid make their living largely by gathering cashew nuts and growing rice and ground nuts as cash crops. "Guinea-Bissau suffered poor harvests last year and people did not have enough food to tide them over," said Juan Coderque, head of the organisation's delegation in Senegal.

The ICRC distributions, which are being carried out with the help of volunteers from the Red Cross Society of Guinea-Bissau, are part of ICRC activities to assist people in an area that hosts some 8,000 Senegalese refugees from unstable Casamance and where there are a wide range of problems such as clean water shortages and inadequate access to health care.

The ICRC adds that it has helped repair and upgrade the water-supply system in São Domingos and has offered aid to the town's health-care facility. It has further aided revive market-gardening businesses run by groups of women. In March 2006, a similar operation was carried out by the ICRC and the Guinea-Bissau Red Cross following armed clashes in the area.

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