WFP is completing a distribution of 2,000 metric tons of wheat flour donated by the Japanese government to assist 300,000 vulnerable West Bank Palestinians.
The distribution, which is due to end on 15 July, will also reach an additional 16,000 people targeted as hardship cases as a
We are grateful to the Japanese government and this gesture of solidarity for the difficulties being experienced by the Palestinian people at this time
Arnold Vercken, WFP Country Director in oPt
result of the cut-off in funding to the Palestinian Authority which has severely impacted the most vulnerable sectors of the population, including children, the disabled and the elderly.
“The people receiving the food ration have no money left to buy even basic commodities and have had to resort to negative coping measures that include selling their assets,” said Arnold Vercken, WFP Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
Gesture of solidarity
The flour 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 grateful to the Japanese government and this gesture of solidarity for the difficulties being experienced by the Palestinian people at this time,” added Vercken.
The distribution comes at a critical moment. As a result of sporadic blockades, the ongoing cash crisis, rising unemployment and an exhaustion of coping strategies, there are a growing number of people who depend on food assistance.
In Gaza, where frequent closures of crossing points and ongoing hostilities have left the population destitute, many impoverished families are now living on only one meal a day.
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.
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 fund its current US$103 million operation, which is so far only 35 percent funded.