Japan has contributed U$3.7 million (about K2.7 billion) to food and nutrition security activities World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) are conducting in the country.
The contribution, which is part of a larger Japanese regional assistance package, follows President Peter Muntharika’s appeal to donors to complement government’s efforts against last year’s late rains and prolonged dry spells that left nearly 40 percent of the country’s population facing food shortages.
A statement made available to The Nation says WFP has used nearly U$ 1 million of the contribution in providing maize, pulses and vegetable cooking oil to food insecure Malawians.
“A further $1 million will shore up efforts to break the cycle of hunger by means of road rehabilitation, irrigation and afforestation while the remaining U$ 600 000 will help WFP assist refugees at Dzaleka and Luwani camps—a chronically underfunded programme,” reads the statement.
So far, the money has also helped Unicef to prevent, screen and treat malnutrition in 285 000 children aged between six and 59 months, apart from helping to provide comprehensive health, nutrition and protection support to some 2 900 adults.
The statement further says by the end of March 2017, WFP had assisted six million Malawians with food and cash in all the 24 districts affected by drought, with the remaining 700 000 food insecure people receiving cash transfers from other humanitarian organisations.
Meanwhile, Japanese Ambassador Kae Yanagisawa has said her country is committed to responding to Malawi’s call for humanitarian assistance.