Lilongwe - The Government of Japan has renewed its commitment to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), contributing a total of US$2.1 million in support of the most food-insecure and vulnerable people in Malawi, including refugees.
According to the November 2013 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee, more than 1.85 million people do not have enough to eat following a poor harvest caused by bad weather. The high price of maize in 2013, Malawi’s staple food, is also placing pressure on food-insecure families.
Since the start of Malawi’s lean season in October 2013, more than 1.8 million people have been targeted for emergency food support as well as a smaller cash transfer programme from WFP in partnership with the Government of Malawi and non-governmental organizations.
“We believe this grant will improve the lot of vulnerable people including refugees,” says Japanese Ambassador Shuichiro Nishioka. “The Government of Japan is providing this humanitarian assistance through WFP because their operations in Malawi are making a real difference.”
Japan’s contribution of US$ 1.1 million is enabling WFP to provide emergency food relief during this ‘lean season’ when rural families have depleted their own stocks prior to next month’s harvest. In the coming months, further Japanese contributions of US$500,000 will help WFP assist targeted food-insecure families to get back on their feet to bounce back from multiple shocks. A special food assistance-for-assets programme involving creation or rehabilitation of community infrastructure and assets has been designed to assist their early recovery.
Japan has also contributed US$500,000 to ensure that WFP food assistance is provided for refugees in Malawi. A recent surge in violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo has prompted up to 400 new refugee arrivals each month – pushing the population of Dzaleka camp to its highest level in 10 years. The camp itself is located in a food-insecure area.
Meanwhile, instability in neighbouring Mozambique has caused an influx of people into Malawi’s south-western border districts. During the past few months, however, WFP has been forced to reduce food rations for refugees in Dzaleka due to a lack of resources.
“We greatly appreciate support from the Japanese Government,” says WFP Representative Coco Ushiyama. “Their humanitarian support is critical to addressing the needs of the hungry poor but also provide a vital link between emergency, early recovery and resilience building of the vulnerable populations. This will ultimately help build a more food and nutrition secure and resilient Malawi.”
Japan has supported people affected by hunger and malnutrition in Malawi for many years. In the past decade, Japan has contributed some US$18 million to WFP’s operations in the country.