Japan Increases Food Support to Palestinian People
A hand-over ceremony today between Japan and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) marks Japan’s continued commitment to provide food assistance to the poorest of the poor in the Palestinian Bank, occupied Palestinian territory.
Japan’s contribution of US$ 3.1 million comes in support of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Social Affairs Social Safety Net reform plan. Under this plan, the Palestinian people living in extreme poverty receive a food ration, a cash grant and health insurance on a regular basis. The distribution of the food rations is ensured by WFP as part of the Assistance to the Destitute activity in close cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs in the Palestinian Bank.
With Japan’s support, WFP has purchased over 3,000 metric tons of wheat flour in the region in addition to 106 metric tons of canned fish, sufficient to cover the basic food needs of 136,000 people during two months in 2011.
“The Japanese Government is determined to continue its support to the Palestinian people”, said Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Representative of Japan to the Palestinian National Authority. “This support comes from a human security perspective as well as from its political stand for the Palestinian efforts to establish a viable independent Palestinian state and to develop the capacities of governmental and local institutions in providing basic daily services to people.”
“We are extremely grateful for Japan’s continued support to providing food to those that need it most in the oPt. It is a clear reflection of Japan’s desire to promote peace and stability in the occupied Palestinian territory as well as in the region” said Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, Country Director of WFP oPt Office. “Japan is once again showing the world that it holds a strong leadership position in fighting hunger and poverty, while promoting human security and peace building.”
This timely donation comes in a complex global context, with humanitarian agencies worldwide struggling with the impact of high food prices on the much needed relief operations, in addition to the continuing effects of the global financial crisis which has resulted in the downward trend of financial support from donor countries in 2011.
According to the 2010 Socio-Economic and Food Security survey carried out by WFP, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), food insecurity in the Palestinian Bank is estimated at 22 percent. This food insecurity remains a direct consequence of income poverty and livelihoods erosion, leading to difficulties in accessing sufficient quantities of quality food.
Today’s ceremony in Hebron is attended by H.E. Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Representative of Japan to the Palestinian National Authority, the PA Minister of Social Affairs, H.E. Mrs Al-Masri, the Governor of Hebron, Mr Kamel Hemeid and WFP’s Country Director Mrs. Christine van Nieuwenhuyse.