DHAKA – The Government of Japan has today handed over a vital food donation to the people of Bangladesh that will be used to help 400,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis be better prepared to deal with the impact of natural disasters and climate change. This is part of Japan’s overall contribution of US$10.5 million to WFP’s Bangladesh activities in 2012.
In partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will use the contribution to provide employment to ultra poor people on key infrastructure projects in coastal and flood-prone areas. These projects form part of WFP’s Enhancing Resilience (ER) to Disaster and the Effects of Climate Change programme, which aims to build the resilience of food-insecure households to extreme natural hazards and the impact of climate change through the development of community assets.
“This Japanese assistance is vital to our efforts helping the poorest of the poor come through crisis periods with their homes and livelihoods intact, as well as to be more self-sufficient,” said Christa Räder, WFP Representative in Bangladesh. “The ER programme makes a difference in people’s lives today, but also in the future.”
Activities under the ER programme include the construction of priority infrastructure and assets for building the resilience of the community, such as building embankments, re-excavating canals for irrigation and drainage, raising homesteads, building of roads, flood and cyclone shelters, as well as paddocks for livestock. Most of the work is carried out by extremely poor women who otherwise rarely find employment. Wages are paid in food and cash, where WFP provides the food and the Government provides the equivalent in cash. The programme also works towards increasing human assets through knowledge building by providing training on disaster management as well as life skills such as nutrition, hygiene and health education and income generating activities, which help the ultra-poor get through times of crisis and makes them more resilient when disaster strikes.
The consignment of over 13,000 metric tons of wheat, which arrived in Chittagong port in February, was handed over by H.E. Mr. Shiro Sadoshima, Ambassador of Japan, to Mr. Syed Ashraful Islam, MP, Honourable Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, during a ceremony today at the Ministry.
“Bangladesh and Japan are disaster prone countries where many people suffer from natural disasters. So the people of Japan strongly wish to assist those who are vulnerable to natural disasters.” said Ambassador Sadoshima. “We strongly believe that our assistance will help to upgrade living standards of the underprivileged and will contribute to the reduction of the poverty rate. The Government of Japan would like to continue our support in collaboration with WFP for the cause.”
“We greatly appreciate Japan’s longstanding support in helping the people of Bangladesh to overcome the challenges of frequent natural disasters and the growing impact of climate change,” said Mr. Syed Ashraful Islam. “This contribution will help save lives, protect communities, and improve the overall health of the poorest through a better diet.”