Juba — The Government of Japan and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have signed on 4 December a new agreement in Rome for food assistance amounting to approximately US$3.125 million (250 million Japanese Yen) to benefit the most vulnerable people in the Republic of South Sudan.
The contribution will be used to purchase food needed for WFP programmes in South Sudan, where the agency is responding to the urgent humanitarian needs of various vulnerable and food insecure people across the country, including South Sudanese returnees and refugees fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries.
"The Government of Japan decided to provide emergency food assistance, considering the suffering of the people from the current serious food shortage in South Sudan." said Mr. Takeshi Akamatsu, Special Representative and head of the Liaison Office of the Government of Japan in Juba. "However, the Government of Japan and people of Japan strongly believe that South Sudan, with its high potential for agriculture, will definitely overcome the food crisis and become a major agrarian country in the future," he added.
"This is welcome support at a time when we urgently need to acquire and pre-position food stocks in places that are inaccessible during the rainy season," said Chris Nikoi, the WFP South Sudan Country Director. "We are grateful to the government of Japan for such steadfast support to boost WFP efforts to provide lifesaving assistance to people who are in need," he added.
WFP in South Sudan has supported 2.5 million people since the beginning of the year through a variety of food assistance activities, including lifesaving food distributions for returnees, refugees and internally displaced people, specializing nutritional support for mothers and young children, school meals, and food-for-assets projects that help communities improve livelihoods and boost their ability to cope with seasonal flooding and other shocks.
Japan is currently WFP's fourth largest individual donor, with over US$ 140 million contributions for WFP operations globally in 2012. In South Sudan, Japan has provided nearly US$ 14 million (1.1 billion Japanese Yen) to support WFP activities in the world's newest country since independence.