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Japan commits $13m for drought-stricken Afghans

AT-KABUL: The government of Japan decided to extend an Emergency Grant Aid of 13 million US dollars, in response to the damage caused by drought in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, through the World Food Programme (WFP), a statement from Japan embassy in Kabul said Wednesday.

This Emergency Grant Aid is to provide humanitarian assistance in the areas of Food and Nutrition in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The food assistance is expected to contribute to 473,000 vulnerable people affected by drought, natural disasters and seasonal food insecurity, to stabilize their food consumption, develop self-reliance, help in prevention of malnutrition among drought affected population and encourage school attendance, the statement added.

In October 2018, WFP Afghanistan launched its full-scale response to provide emergency food assistance to 2.5 million drought affected people in need, across 20 of the most affected provinces of the country. In its earlier drought response from July to September 2018, WFP was able to provide food assistance to over 500,000 people in need.

Zlatan Milisic, WFP Representative and Country Director for Afghanistan said “This timely contribution from the Government of Japan will enable WFP to meet the basic food and nutrition needs of the affected women, men, girls and boys.”

Mr. Suzuka, Ambassador of Japan to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, remarked, “People of Afghanistan have been facing food shortage caused by natural disasters that occur frequently in the country. Particularly in this year, due to a severe drought, unprecedented food insecurity has been brought to many areas of the country and it damaged the life of people, especially most vulnerable people such as women and children. Based on this fact, Japan has decided to work with the WFP through providing emergency assistance for the most vulnerable people in the drought-hit areas. Japan always stands by the people of Afghanistan.”

The contribution from the Government of Japan, will enable WFP to implement three activities, each of which contributes to both humanitarian and development outcomes. Firstly, WFP will carry out unconditional General Food Distributions (GFD) of locally procured fortified wheat flour and cash transfers to vulnerable and food insecure communities to meet humanitarian needs. Secondly, through its food for assets programmes, WFP will fill a humanitarian food need by providing conditional cash or in-kind transfers to the most vulnerable families across the different targeted communities. Finally, in order to ensure that school children do not ever feel hungry at school, and that they can learn effectively, in a volatile and crises-stricken situation, WFP will provide High Energy Biscuits to girls and boys in primary schools and girls in secondary schools.

The intervention will be implemented by WFP and its cooperating partners (both national and International NGOs) in close collaboration with local authorities and UN agencies such as FAO and UNICEF. WFP will maintain strong links with the Government at strategic and policy levels, ensuring that all activities are closely coordinated with government partners to ensure alignment with national objectives. WFP will collaborate closely with provincial- and district-level line departments and authorities. Local government institutions such as provincial/district offices of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), will be closely involved in the emergency, self-reliance and nutrition projects from the planning up to the implementation and monitoring phases.

Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields including security, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development, human capacity development, education, health, culture and humanitarian assistance. The cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 amounts to approximately $6.6 billion.

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