Japanese government has announced it has contributed $3.2 million United States (US) dollars to the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations to support the organization’s lifesaving relief operations in South Sudan.
The financial assistance also targets specialized nutrition treatment for mothers and children and a critical aviation service for humanitarian workers in the war-ravaged new nation.
In a press release issued on Friday and extended to Sudan Tribune, Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan, Kiya Masahiko, said the contribution demonstrated commitment by his government to help alleviate the suffering of the South Sudanese people.
“We are alarmed by the food scarcity and malnutrition rates in South Sudan. Through this contribution, the Government of Japan demonstrates its unwavering commitment to supporting WFP’s unparalleled relief efforts in saving the lives of thousands of women and children amidst the protracted crisis in South Sudan,” said Ambassador Masahiko.
From the Japanese contribution, he said, $2.4 million will be used for nutrition support under WFP’s emergency response, adding that this will enable WFP to assist more than 28,000 children and 6,660 pregnant women and nursing mothers with vital nutrition supplements.
He said women and children diagnosed with moderate acute malnutrition will receive specialized fortified foods to treat the condition and help them recover, while mothers and children in particularly food-insecure environments will receive highly nutritious foods to prevent them from becoming malnourished.
On his part, WFP’s deputy country director in South Sudan, Hakan FAlkell, appreciated the contribution from the Japanese government, saying this will enable the organization to continue with provision of the badly needed relief assistance in the country.
“We appreciate this contribution from the Government of Japan, which is a sign of its steadfast support for WFP’s efforts to eliminate malnutrition in South Sudan,” said Falkell.
“Young children and women in this country need good nutrition for a healthy and productive life, and Japan’s support will enable WFP to continue its assistance during the challenging times facing South Sudan.”
The remaining Japanese funds – US$800,000 – will go towards the WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which provides air transport and cargo services for humanitarian workers delivering lifesaving assistance in South Sudan.
In 2015, UNHAS served 248 organizations, flying to 77 locations, as well as transporting light relief cargo.
WFP requires an additional US$220 million for food and nutrition operations and another US$16 million to run UNHAS over the next six months in South Sudan.
The organization 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 worldwide.