Japan commits US$4m to aid Palestinian nutrition and food security

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

The UN WFP said it will use the money to assist 60,000 of the poorest and most food insecure people living in the region. ©iStock
The UN WFP said it will use the money to assist 60,000 of the poorest and most food insecure people living in the region. ©iStock

Related tags: Food security, Nutrition, Japan, Middle east, UN, WFP, Palestine

Japan has contributed ¥400m (just under US$4m) to support nutrition and food security for Palestinians in Gaza, under the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP).

The UN WFP said it will use the money to assist 60,000 of the poorest and most food insecure people living in the region.

“This contribution is a symbol of Japan’s continued commitment to alleviate the hardship faced by the most vulnerable Palestinian families in Gaza,”​ said Daniela Owen, WFP Representative and Country Director.

By using electronic vouchers given to them by the WFP, the Palestinian beneficiaries can buy nutritious and fresh foods at local retailers.

Part of Japan’s donation will also be used to buy canned tuna for contingency stocks that the WFP keeps for emergency use.

“The Government of Japan is committed to continuing its unwavering support to ensure that all Palestinians have physical, social and economic access to their daily needs for an active and healthy life,”​ said Takeshi Okubo, Japanese ambassador for Palestinian Affairs.

“Japan is gravely concerned about the deteriorating socio-economic conditions in Gaza.”

Urgent lifeline

Said Owen, “Food assistance and humanitarian support are a lifeline that thousands of families desperately depend on.”

She added that Palestinians, who are in a vulnerable state, should not be forgotten.

Almost half of Gaza’s population faces poverty with the unemployment rate at 49%.

The UN said that the Palestinian families have hit breaking point and are taking extreme measures to cope with the increasingly dire situation, including skipping meals.

They stated that many Palestinians have “exhausted all their resources and rely on credit, support from friends and relatives to make ends meet”​. 

Other contributing factors

According to the UN WFP, the Gaza Strip is suffering from an acute energy crisis, which impacts all economic activities and affects the delivery of essential basic services, including food assistance.

They said the crisis is worsening an already fragile humanitarian situation caused by 11 years of economic blockade, strict restrictions on trade and people’s movements, salary reductions for tens of thousands of civil servants and a slow post-conflict reconstruction process.

“We are grateful to the Japanese people and government for their support that will undoubtedly enable WFP to work with the Palestinian community to improve nutrition and build resilience, especially in Gaza,”​ said Ibrahim Al-Shaer, Minister of Social Development of Palestine.

“We also value the continued support of WFP and our partnership, which has a substantial positive impact on people facing economic hardship.”

The WFP has helped by contributing more than US$175m to the Palestinian economy since 2011, in vital food vouchers.

Japan, meanwhile, is among the WFP’s top donors in Palestine, having contributed nearly US$53m, as well as one of the largest donors to the WFP globally.

The UN WFP is present in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters and building sustainable development.

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