UN World Food Programme

Japan donates flour to WFP operation in Gaza

WFP has welcomed a Japanese donation of 1,000 metric tonnes of wheat flour which reached Gaza’s hard-hit population.

WFP has welcomed a Japanese donation of 1,000 metric tonnes of wheat flour which reached Gaza’s hard-hit population.

Historically, Japan has been one of WFP’s top donors and in 2005 alone donated US$161 million worldwide

The wheat flour, which was purchased in Egypt and transported into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing between Egypt and Gaza, is part of an overall US$1.4 million contribution from Japan to help more than 400,000 Palestinians living in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“We are extremely grateful to both Japan and Egypt for making this shipment of food possible,” said Arnold Vercken, WFP Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Deteriorating conditions

The arrival of the flour in Gaza is both critical and timely. As a result of the sporadic blockades, the halting of funding to the Palestinian Authority and high unemployment, there is a growing number of severely vulnerable people who desperately need food assistance.

Aid agencies have voiced their concern over the deteriorating conditions inside Gaza.

WFP plans to increase its caseload by 25 percent to reach 600,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza within the next three months.

However, it still does not have enough funds to provide assistance to its current beneficiaries.

Generous donor

Historically, Japan has been one of WFP’s top donors and in 2005 alone donated US$161 million worldwide. In oPt, Japan is the third largest donor to WFP’s operations.

“Japan continues to be a generous and supportive donor to WFP’s work here and in the world,” added Vercken.

Japan’s contribution has also been used to purchase local supplies of wheat flour in the West Bank, where WFP assists over 300,000 people.

Despite the generosity of the Japanese government, however, funding shortfalls have become a huge constraint on WFP’s work in the Palestinian territory.

The humanitarian agency has no money beyond July to pay for its current US$81 million operation, which is so far only 33 percent funded.