Japan’s Ambassador Visits South Sudanese Refugees Assisted By WFP In Gambela

Published on 18 July 2014

ADDIS ABABA – The Japanese Ambassador to Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Kazuhiro Suzuki, visited refugee camps in Gambela yesterday (Thursday 17 July) to see how the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is providing critically-needed food assistance to South Sudanese refugees, thanks to Japan’s contribution of US$4.2 million.

“The Japanese government has always placed humanitarian issues, such as refugee issues or poverty reduction, at the centre of its attention,” said Ambassador Suzuki, Japan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia. “We understand that our support to WFP at this point is very crucial as thousands of refugees are crossing the border. In order to address humanitarian issues in Ethiopia, Japan has contributed US$13.1 million to WFP and other agencies in 2014.”

Japan’s contribution of US$4.2 million has been used to purchase a month’s worth of wheat and two months’ worth of vegetable oil for more than 315,000 refugees.  

“This help from Japan comes at a time when we need to step up our efforts as Ethiopia hosts the largest number of South Sudanese refugees in the region,” said Abdou Dieng, WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Ethiopia, who accompanied the Ambassador to Gambela.  “We are extremely grateful for the generous contribution from Japan.”

In Ethiopia, WFP works closely with the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR and the government to assist roughly 580,000 refugees from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.  WFP Ethiopia still needs more  than US$42 million until the end of the year to support the refugee operation, including the 170,000 South Sudanese who have sought shelter here since December 2013.

At the border points in Gambela, WFP is distributing calorie-packed High Energy Biscuits for asylum-seekers who have walked for days to reach safety. Having settled in the camps, WFP provides the refugees with a monthly general food ration consisting of cereals, rice, fortified blended food, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and iodised salt, for their daily nutritional requirements.

The Japanese government is an important donor in Ethiopia, having contributed US$19.2 million to WFP’s refugee operation alone since 2013. Besides refugee assistance, Japan’s generous support has also been critical for WFP’s relief operation in the country as well as MERET (Managing Environmental Resources to Enable Transition) and PSNP (Productive Safety Net Programme). Japan has contributed a total of US$79 million to WFP in Ethiopia since 2008.

In addition to supporting WFP, the Japanese government has also contributed to other UN agencies in Ethiopia, including UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, FAO and WHO, amounting to a total of US$8.8 million in 2014.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Stephanie Savariaud – WFP/Addis Ababa, Mob.: +251 911 201976
Melese Awoke – WFP/Addis Ababa, Mob.: +251 911 201981