Mamadou Edrisa Njie --
Tue, April 12, 2011 2:14:14 PM
I haven’t slept much the past few months. Amid the violence and chaos all around me in Côte d’Ivoire, it’s no easy task to deliver food to those who need it.
At least one million people have fled their homes, hiding out in the bush or setting out for the border.
About an hour south of me in a town called Duékoué, hundreds of people were recently massacred. Families across the country are terrified to leave their homes. They’re running out of food and water and the supermarkets are completely bare.
I wish I could share with you the sheer joy – cheering, dancing, singing – of the women receiving food assistance. One woman took my hand and kept shaking it with a big smile, saying “Merci, merci beaucoup (thank you very much).” It’s wonderful.
But we have hard work ahead of us.
Since the disputed presidential elections a few months ago, the political unrest has turned into a full-scalehumanitarian crisis. We’re doing everything we can to respond.
In the coming days, we will airlift lifesaving food to tens of thousands of people in Côte d’Ivoire and refugees in neighbouring . We’re giving special attention to malnourished children and pregnant or nursing mothers.
We’re also planning long-term solutions to this crisis.
Here’s how it will play out for many farmers: It’s the start of rainy season – which is planting time. Obviously, farmers who have had to flee won’t be able to plant, which means they won’t have a harvest. We’re trying to keep them from using up their food reserves or having to eat their seeds.
However, significant funding shortfalls threaten our ability to reach those in need in the coming months. I’m inspired by the incredible generosity by those who have so little to offer. But I’ve also seen the desperation in the eyes of the people we’re helping.
Please consider making a secure online donation today so that we’re not forced to leave anyone behind.
Thanks for all you do for WFP,
Chief of WFP operations in Man, Côte d’Ivoire