The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today thanked the Government of Japan for its latest contribution of 165 million Japanese Yen (US$1.46 million), which will be used to provide food to over 53,000 Burundian refugees living in Mahama Refugee Camp and reception centres.
“The Japanese contribution is much appreciated and very timely,” said Mr Jean-Pierre de Margerie, WFP Rwanda Country Director. “ It will allow WFP to continue general food distribution to over 53,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda for the coming months”
“The people of Japan are acutely aware that nutrition is the very foundation of health and is therefore stepping up its support for the alleviation of hunger and malnutrition among the most vulnerable people and this is why we have decided to intervene through WFP immediately after the previous assistance in last December amounting up to 140 million Japanese Yens (USD 1.4 million)” said H.E.Mr. Takayuki Miyashita, the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, at the time of the exchange of letters, which took place inFebruary 2017 in Rome, Italy to formalize the donation.
WFP is currently providing food assistance to more than 150,000 people each month, under its refugee operations in Rwanda; these include 138,000Burundian and Congolese women, men and children residing in refugee camps in Rwanda, who entirely depend on assistance to meet their daily food needs, having limited access to income generating activities; 12,200 school children from the host community attending the same schools as the refugee children; and one-off nine months food distributions to an average of 500 Rwandan returnees, on monthly basis.
In addition to the monthly general food distribution to refugees, WFP also provides specialized nutritious foods to reverse acute malnutrition for children under five years of age; prevention of malnutrition for children aged six months to two years of age and pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers; and people living with HIV/AIDS & TB patients in the camps.
A recent joint mass screening among children under five by UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP has revealed that the prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) is decreasing over time compared to the last screening (from 4.1% in July 2015 to 2.6 % in December 2016), among camp based Burundian refugees. In Mahama camp, 46% of Burundi refugees are children.
These great nutritional advances have been made possible by the generosity of countries like Japan, who now ranks among WFP Rwanda’s top five donors.