The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a contribution of US$1.8 million from the Government of Japan for food and nutrition assistance to more than 200,000 refugees in northwest Tanzania.
Major General Projest Rwegasira, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs, officiated a handover ceremony at Dar es Salaam Port with His Excellency Masaharu Yoshida, Ambassador of Japan to Tanzania, and Michael Dunford, WFP Tanzania Country Representative also in attendance.
"The Government of Japan is proud to announce its US$1.8 million contribution to WFP's emergency food assistance to refugees in Tanzania," said Ambassador Yoshida.
The Ambassador also extended his appreciation to the Government of Tanzania for its high commitment and great generosity to host and support refugees in need of humanitarian assistance.
"These joint efforts are certain to improve the food security and livelihoods of the refugees, and enhance peace and stability in northwestern Tanzania," Ambassador Yoshida added.
In total, 1,800 metric tonnes of food commodities have been purchased with funds contributed by the Government of Japan. This includes fortified oil, micronutrient powders, and 1,100 metric tonnes of locally-purchased maize. Also purchased with the contribution were fortified blended cereals to make a nutritious porridge, formulated for mothers and young children at risk of undernutrition.
"WFP greatly appreciates the generous contribution from the Government and people of Japan," WFP Country Representative Michael Dunford said at the ceremony. "This contribution helps WFP's efforts to ensure minimum food and nutrition requirements are provided to the refugees currently residing in Tanzania."
Assistance has been substantially scaled up due to an influx of over 153,000 refugees from Burundi, following an outbreak of violence in the Central African nation last year. The Burundians have joined an existing caseload of some 65,000 refugees, most of them from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently, the refugees are hosted at three camps in Kigoma region, Mtendeli, Nduta and Nyarugusu. Hundreds of Burundians are still arriving every week. Due to continued unrest in their homeland, a return seems unlikely in the foreseeable future.
In his remarks Major General Rwegasira acknowledged the Japan contribution, "Whether in the humanitarian, or the social economic front, over the years Japan has continued to be one of the leading supporters to the Government and people of Tanzania."
Japan has made contributions to WFP's refugee operations in Tanzania totalling US$9.2 million over the last six years.
WFP spends approximately US$5 million every month on basic food needs for refugees in Tanzania. Between now and December 2016, an additional US$6.7 million is required to ensure WFP Tanzania can continue to provide food assistance to the full caseload of refugees.
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.
Source: World Food Programme