WFP today welcomed an announcement by the Government of Japan to donate US$17.3 million (JPY 2.01 billion) to assist the people of four African countries that are currently ravaged by conflict or drought.
Through this generous contribution, Japan has again demonstrated its commitment to peace-building in a concrete manner.
Kenro Oshidari, WFP Country Director in Sudan
The contribution, announced today, will support refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other vulnerable people in Chad, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Cereals and blended foods will be purchased and delivered to those at serious risk of malnutrition.
“This aid package provides a vital respite, especially for women and children who are suffering from conflict and natural calamity. Thanks to Japan’s continuing assistance, they have a ray of hope for the future,” said Mihoko Tamamura, Director, WFP Office in Japan.
The largest portion of the package, US$8.5 million (JPY 980 million), will be allocated to Sudan. Following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in January 2005 for South Sudan, and the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006, the country is going through a crucial transition period.
To support the peace process, WFP has dedicated almost one third of its annual budget to the Sudan operation – which is also its largest worldwide.
Japan’s donation will help provide food assistance to 6.1 million IDPs, returnees and the most vulnerable people in the country. Specifically, those displaced by two decades of conflict will receive help to return to the south through a two week food ration as well as assistance in reintegration through participation in community-based projects such as food for work.
Last year, Japan contributed US$10 million (JPY 1.2 billion) to WFP to repair roads in southern Sudan to help IDPs and returnees go back home.
In Darfur, thanks to food aid including assistance from Japan, the global acute malnutrition rate among children under five dropped from 22 percent in 2004 to 12 percent in 2005.
The newly appointed WFP Country Director in Sudan, Kenro Oshidari, welcomed Japan’s assistance. “Through this generous contribution, Japan has again demonstrated its commitment to peace-building in a concrete manner. We are immensely grateful for Japan’s timely support,” he said.
WFP’s operation in Chad will receive US$1.3 million (JPY 150 million) to assist up to 500,000 people.
The aid is crucial not only to sustain over 200,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur who are in camps but also to give much needed aid to the local population of Chadian nationals in the same area in order to avoid tension between the two communities.
Uganda has experienced two decades of conflict during which its people have endured atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, including child abduction.
The situation has been worsened by the continuing presence of refugees from Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as drought in the Karamoja region.
Japan’s assistance to Uganda in this package, totaling US$2.8 million (JPY 330 million) will help to ensure food security for Sudanese refugees and 1.5 million displaced and vulnerable people.
In Kenya, the persistent drought has caused unprecedented livestock loss, resulting in serious food insecurity. Many pastoralists have sold their precious livestock and have no other means to support themselves. Acute malnutrition rates among children under five are well above the emergency threshold of 15 percent in many districts.
With Japan’s donation of US$4.7 million (JPY 550 million), up to 3.1 million drought-affected people will be assisted and 500,000 children will be given school meals in hard hit areas.
In 2005, Japan was WFP’s third largest donor with a total contribution of US$160.5 million. Of this, 43 percent has been allocated to African countries to improve food security on the continent.