LILONGWE – The Government of Japan has made a US$3.7 million contribution to food and nutrition security activities run by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF in Malawi. Of this sum, US$2.57 million went to WFP and US$1.13 million to UNICEF.
The contributions – part of a larger Japanese regional assistance package – came after President Arthur Peter Mutharika issued an appeal to donors to complement government efforts. Last year, late rains and prolonged dry spells left some 6.7 million people – nearly 40 percent of Malawi’s population – facing food insecurity.
“The Government of Malawi expresses its deepest gratitude to the Government of Japan for its support,” said Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe.
For her part, Japanese Ambassador Kae Yanagisawa said her country continued to respond to Malawi’s call for humanitarian assistance. “We do this to support refugees, as well as to help restore the food security and livelihoods of those affected by natural disasters.”
WFP has used nearly US$1 million of Japan’s latest contribution to provide maize, pulses and vegetable cooking oil to food-insecure Malawians.
A further $1 million will shore up efforts to break the cycle of hunger by means of road rehabilitation, irrigation and afforestation, while the remaining $600,000 will help WFP assist refugees at Dzaleka and Luwani camps – a chronically underfunded operation.
“We are very grateful to the Government of Japan for its continued generosity,” said WFP Country Representative Coco Ushiyama. “Japan’s support has enabled us to assist more than 400,000 Malawians and 32,500 refugees in Malawi.”
By the end of March, WFP had assisted some 6 million Malawians with food and cash, in all 24 districts affected by the drought. The remaining 700,000 food-insecure people received cash transfers from other humanitarian organizations.
The funding from the Government of Japan has meanwhile allowed UNICEF to prevent, screen and treat malnutrition in 285,000 children aged 6-59 months. It has also helped provide comprehensive health, nutrition and protection support to some 2,900 adults.
“Young children are the most vulnerable in situations of food insecurity and, if not assisted, may suffer irreversible damage to their growth and development,” said UNICEF Malawi Deputy Representative Roisin De Burca. “Some may die due to lack of food or health-related complications.”
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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