MOGADISHU– Japan will continue to support the people of Somalia and the United Nations World Food Programme’s work in the country – that was the message brought by the Deputy Chief of Mission to the Embassy of Japan in Nairobi, Mr.Yoichiro Yamada, Tuesday in a one-day visit to the Somali capital.
Since the beginning of last year, Japan has donated more than US $15 million to WFP operations in Somalia by supporting emergency response, nutrition and infrastructure projects.
During the visit, the delegation travelled to the WFP warehouse at the port for a ceremonial handover of food by Deputy Chief of Mission Yamada to WFP Representative in Somalia Stefano Porretti.
‘We are truly grateful for Japan’s unwavering and generous support for the work WFP does in enabling food to reach the most vulnerable people in Somalia,” said Porretti. “Although last year’s famine has passed, the situation remains extremely fragile. It’s crucial to continue responding to people’s immediate food needs, as well as helping them build resilience to drought and other potential shocks.”
The delegates also inspected a marine traffic control tower at the port that was built by WFP thanks to the generous contribution from Japan. Its construction has enabled greater volumes of food and other assistance to be shipped safely to the drought-stricken country.
Before leaving, the delegation visited one of WFP’s 23 hot meal centres in the city where Deputy Chief of Mission Yamada met some of the people who come daily to receive food prepared at the site as part of the WFP’s emergency response in the city.
Following the visit to the capital, Deputy Chief of Mission Yamada said: "The international community is looking forward to a new era after the transition period ends in August. Hopefully it will lead to the creation of an environment that enables increased food production, better food storage and more effective food distribution. It is in the interests of the Somalis to develop agriculture and we are ready to work with them to that end."
Since July 2011, WFP has reached some 1.5 million people with food assistance in those areas of Somalia to which it has access.
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