NOVEMBER 6, 2014 By Mohamed Massaquoi and Hassan G. Koroma
As they embark on monitoring the state and status of quarantined homes across the country, the All Political Parties Association (APPA) has alleged that the World Food Programme (WFP) supplied ‘rotten rice’ to quarantined houses in Moyamba and the Western Area.
Acting chairman of the association of 10 registered political parties and chairman and leader of the United Democratic Movement (UDM), Mohamed Bangura, opined that the ‘rotten rice’ could cause serious health hazard if immediate steps are not taken to address the situation.
He disclosed that the revived inter-party organization would embark on three months monitoring of quarantined homes in order to document various challenges encountered by residents.
“Some quarantined homes go for a week without food supplies and the rice that is being supplied by WFP is rotten, it is not good for human consumption and the people have rejected the food,” Mr. Bangura, who is no stranger to controversy, said.
“WFP is not giving this food for nothing; they have collected money on behalf of Sierra Leone in the fight. Millions of dollars have been given to WFP to feed the people as one of the ways in fighting Ebola, but it is unfortunate that this is happening in Sierra Leone,” he said, adding that security personnel deployed to secure quarantined homes are doing a fantastic job, albeit they encounter challenges.
However, WFP Communications Officer, Djaounsede P. Madjiangar, denied the allegation, noting that the issue of the quality of rice supplied by the UN agency had been previously raised by APPA.
He said they take the issue of quality of the food supplied to beneficiaries very seriously and promised an investigation into the allegation.
“We will investigate the matter because we carefully only procure food from reputable suppliers who meet international recognized safety standards. Quality controls are also regularly observed during transportation and storage of the food,” said Madjiangar.
Hon. Manso Dumbuya, who is also a member of the monitoring team, commended police and military personnel deployed in quarantined homes, and urged that the men are properly catered for by the government.
He revealed that babies in quarantined homes lack adequate supply of baby food, and called on government and humanitarian organizations to provide support.