By Nkosana Dlamini
The Japanese government has availed an additional US$500 000 through the World Food Programme (WFP) to help alleviate massive hunger among vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe.
The generous contribution is an addition to US$5.75 million contributed in 2021.
The half a million dollar donation brings to over US$24.6 million, the total amount availed to the country by the East Asian country through WFP.
According to a statement by the Japanese embassy to Harare, the contribution is a timely relief for communities that will struggle to feed themselves at the peak of the lean season because of successive drought and chronic economic challenges, aggravated by the impacts of the situation in Ukraine.
“In collaboration with WFP, the Government of Japan continues to deliver support from the people of Japan to the most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe, addressing their immediate food needs during the lean season,” said Satoshi Tanaka, the Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe.
“We hope that this assistance will help cushion their hardship during the upcoming lean season. We will provide food insecure people with unconditional food assistance under the Emergency Grant.
“This funding comes at a critical time, with many vulnerable families struggling to put food on the table”, said Francesca Erdelmann, WFP Representative in the country.
“Not only has poor rainfall during the recent growing season resulted in widespread crop failure, prices of food, fuel and fertilizer have surged due to the conflict in Ukraine. Families are now being forced to sell off livestock and other precious belongings to be able to buy food.”
The contribution from Japan will support food distributions during the start of the lean season, October to December 2022, when WFP aims to assist more than 400,000 people.
Since 2019, Japan has contributed over US$ 24.6 million to WFP-supported food assistance and resilience-building for vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe, as well as nutrition support for pregnant women in maternity waiting homes.
In 2021, Japan contributed US$5.75 million through WFP to support vulnerable, food insecure communities in Zimbabwe that were severely impacted by climate shocks and COVID-19.