Food aid to African countries through the World Food Programme

Report
from Government of Japan
Published on 31 Jul 2006 View Original
1. The Government of Japan has decided to extend food aid totaling 2.01billion yen (approximately US$ 18.1 million) through the World Food Programme (WFP) to Darfur refugees and others in Sudan and Chad and to people in Kenya and Uganda facing serious food shortage caused by drought. Notes to this effect were exchanged on July 28 (Fri) in Rome between Mr. Yuji Nakamura, Japanese Ambassador to Italy, and Mr. John M. Powell, Deputy Executive Director of the WFP.
The breakdown of this assistance is as follows:

(1) For conflict-afflicted people in Sudan (including displaced persons in Darfur and those returning to the southern part of Sudan): (980 million yen)

(2) For Darfur refugees and vulnerable host communities in Chad: (150 million yen)

(3) For vulnerable people suffering from food shortage caused by drought in Kenya: (550 million yen)

(4) For vulnerable people suffering from food shortage caused by drought in the northern part Uganda:(330 million yen)

2. After some 20 years of conflict between north and south in Sudan, a historic opportunity to consolidate peace prevails as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was reached in January 2005 and the new regime of the Government of National Unity was established in July 2005. As Sudan is the largest country in Africa sharing borders with nine countries, it is vitally important for the peace and stability of the whole region that Sudan should not revert to armed conflict.

The Darfur conflict known as the world's worst humanitarian crisis has caused tragic deaths and casualties as well as two million refugees as a result of the conflict between Arab militia and African anti-government forces. Taking stock of the progress in the north-south peace process, major parties of the Darfur conflict signed the Peace Agreement this May. Under these circumstances, it is effective for consolidation of peace in Sudan to alleviate the concerns of people facing serious food shortage.

Reflecting the gravity of problems, within past 18 months, the United Nations Security Council has adopted 11 resolutions concerning Sudan (highest after resolutions on Middle East peace process). Sudan issues were also discussed at the G8 Summit and Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Russia this year. Japan has steadily implemented a package assistance totaling US$100 million to encourage the consolidation of peace in Sudan which Japan announced in April 2005. Furthermore, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi reiterated the importance of the support for Darfur when he visited Africa in May this year. As part of the pledged package, Japan has decided to extend food aid through assisting WFP's emergency food aid program in Sudan and Chad. During this year, the WFP is planning to distribute food to a total of 6.14 million vulnerable people including Darfur refugees in Sudan, and to 500,000 people including Darfur refugees and host communities in Chad. Six Japanese officials of WFP including Mr. Kenro Oshidari, appointed as the WFP Regional Director for Sudan this May, will work in Sudan to the implement this world largest food distribution program. With the food aid through WFP announced today, Japan has fully implemented the pledged package aid of $100 million for the consolidation of peace in Sudan.

3. Kenya has been suffering for a protracted food shortage caused by a four-year-long drought that started in 2003. It now faces the worst famine in decades. Approximately 3.5 million people (with 500,000 children), including pastoral communities losing livestocks such as cattle and goats, are facing serious hunger. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declared the famine a "national disaster" in the New Year's Day speech to the nation and conducted emergency food aid operations supported by the WFP. Japan has provided food assistance through the WFP for the past two years. Nevertheless, with seriousness of the situation, Government of Kenya requested further assistance to Japan to cope with the prolonged drought. Thus, Japan has decided to extend food aid through assisting WFP's emergency food aid program which aims to reach out 2.3 million people in North Eastern Province, Eastern Province, Coast Province, and Rift Valley Province.

4. In the northern part of Uganda, a 20-year-long armed conflict between anti-government forces ("Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)") and the national army generated 1.83 million displaced people in the country. The destruction of the industrial infrastructure including agriculture, the lagging recovery of agricultural productivity, and the deterioration of the natural environment through drought and other causes have caused continuing food shortage. As the LRA, based in the southern part of neighboring Sudan and deployed its forces in the northern part of Uganda, has conducted looting, kidnapping of more than 25,000 children, and the compulsory deployment of child soldiers, the situation in the northern part of Uganda is called "forgotten crisis of Africa." The issue is repeatedly discussed in the UN and the Chairman's statement of the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting this June also expressed concern on the situation in Uganda. The food shortage in the northern part of Uganda is also caused by the drought in eastern African, and the rate of malnourished children is as high as 18%. The WFP has therefore been providing food to 2.49 million people. Japan is extending this food aid in response to a request from the WFP in light of such situation of displaced persons and refugees in Uganda.

5. Japan is committed to make contribution toward the alleviation of hunger and food shortage in Africa, in concert with the international community. Responding to appeals issued by the WFP, Japan, from a humanitarian viewpoint as well as to stabilize the region, decided to provide financial assistance to WFP to purchase and distribute wheat, flour, rice, and CSB (corn-soybean blend).

It is hoped that the food aid will alleviate food shortage of the respective African countries.