Photo: WFP/Anas ElBaba, children gathering over the traditional Gazan Rummaniyah dish. Using electronic food vouchers, WFP with the generous support of Japan helps tens of thousands of the poorest Palestinian families purchase nutritious food from local shops.
RAMALLAH – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of JPY 300 million (almost US$3 million) from the Government of Japan to support more than 100,000 vulnerable people living in Gaza.
The funds will enable WFP to continue providing food assistance to nearly 65,000 of the poorest people in Gaza via electronic vouchers. Another 35,000 people will receive food packages that include nutrient-enriched wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil and iodized salt.
A portion of the contribution will also be used to buy canned tuna which for use by WFP in emergency situations.
“This contribution is a testimony to Japan as a reliable, predictable and generous donor,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Stephen Kearney. “It couldn’t come at a better time as WFP is facing severe funding challenges right now. The people we’re assisting really depend on us for their food needs.”
WFP food assistance is vital for hundreds of thousands of people who face rampant unemployment and deep deprivation. Seven out of 10 Palestinians in Gaza are judged to be food insecure – that is, they do not have regular access to food or do not know where their next meal is coming from.
Many families take extreme measures to survive, often skipping meals and sinking ever deeper into debts. Children are especially vulnerable, their growth and development compromised.
“The Government of Japan has been funding food assistance for developing countries since 1968 and is a long-standing partner of WFP. We hope that this assistance will contribute to alleviating the hardship of Palestinians in Gaza,” said Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine Masayuki Magoshi. “However, we believe that without peace and stability, we will not achieve our long-term goal of Zero Hunger. Therefore, we are strongly committed to peace in the region which is represented in the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity Initiative.”
Gaza has been hit by a combination of economic, energy and public-sector crises that are taking a devastating toll on the people.
“We reiterate our thanks and appreciation to the Japanese people and government for their support to Palestine and the Palestinians; mainly in the field of food security,” said Palestinian Minister of Social Development Ahmad Majdalani. “We also value the Japanese continued support to WFP activities in Palestine focused on improving nutrition and building resilience of the poor and food insecure”.
WFP is providing regular food assistance to more than 330,000 of the poorest and most food insecure non-refugee people in Gaza and the West Bank. With 85 percent of assisted families receiving food via WFP’s cash-based transfers, some US$3.5 million is being injected every month into the fragile Palestinian economy. Having contributed more than US$24 million to WFP over the past five years, Japan is among WFP’s top donors in Palestine, as well as one of the largest donors to the organisation globally.