Japan’s Support In Dzaleka Refugee Camp In Malawi

Published on 20 June 2014

LILONGWE – The Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, His Excellency Shuichiro Nishioka, yesterday visited Dzaleka refugee camp, ahead of World Refugee Day today. Some 18,000 refugees live at Dzaleka. They come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries in central and east Africa. Many have lived in the camp for more than a decade, while others have fled recent conflict in the region.

In addition to meeting refugee representatives, Ambassador Nishioka visited a warehouse belonging to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). This holds Japanese-funded commodities ready for distribution. These include Super Cereal Plus, a fortified corn soya blend being distributed for the first time to address micronutrient deficiencies in children at the camp.

Ambassador Nishioka also visited a WFP-funded community centre where refugees, particularly women, can engage in income-generating activities. Refugees at Dzaleka have limited access to arable land or any means of earning a living, rendering them largely dependent on assistance from WFP, the UN refugee agency UNHCR, non-government organisations and the Government of Malawi.

In 2014, Japan contributed US$ 2.1 million to WFP operations in Malawi. Of this, US$500,000 ensured that WFP could give food assistance to refugees, while the remaining funds enabled WFP to provide emergency food relief and early recovery support to food-insecure Malawians.

“Japan is pleased to support WFP in Malawi, including for its refugee operations,” said Ambassador Nishioka prior to his visit to Dzaleka. “We know that such assistance not only maintains food security but also contributes to a safer environment as it eases tensions in a place where violence against women is especially high.”
A recent upsurge in violence in the DRC has prompted up to 400 new refugee arrivals each month, pushing the population of Dzaleka to its highest level in 10 years. For the first few months of 2014, lack of funding obliged WFP to reduce refugee food rations by more than half.

“The Japanese contribution came at a critical time when funds to support the refugees were becoming severely depleted,” said WFP Representative Coco Ushiyama before the visit. “We are counting on the international community to follow Japan’s example in supporting one of the most vulnerable groups in Malawi.”

WFP, UNHCR and partner agencies are seeking the economic self-reliance of at least part of the refugee population, as well as solutions including voluntary repatriation, resettlement and local integration. To meet the needs of refugees in Malawi until mid-2015, WFP requires an additional US$ 580,000.
 
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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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