The Government of Japan has decided to
extend through the World Food Programme (WFP) food aid totaling 2,211 million
yen for internally afflicted persons in Indonesia, who are suffering from
a severe food shortage caused by the effect of the economic difficulties
and the intensification of independence movements and religious strife,
and for internally afflicted persons in Kenya, who are facing a serious
food shortage because of a drought. Notes to this effect were exchanged
on March 24 (Fri) in Rome between Mr. Hiromoto Seki, Japanese Ambassador
to Italy, and Ms. Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of the WFP.
The breakdown of this food aid is as follows (types of food and value of assistance in parentheses):
(1) For internally afflicted persons
in Indonesia (rice: 1,350 million yen)
(2) For drought-afflicted persons in Kenya (maize, beans and edible oil: 861 million yen)
(1) Indonesia was hit by a deterioration in its food situation through damage from a drought and the economic crisis in 1997. Although signs of recovery have been seen since 1999, as the economic situation already hit the bottom, many people, mainly in the metropolitan area, are still forced to live below the poverty line. Intensification of the independence movement in Aceh and the religious strife in the Maluku Islands have also given rise to a number of internal displaced persons who are forced to live in harsh circumstances.
(2) The food situation in Kenya deteriorated by a mixture of drought and disastrous floods in 1997 and 1998. In addition, there was hardly any rain during the 1999 rainy season, which caused another drought, leaving many people faced with a serious food shortage and suffering from malnutrition or actual starvation.
Taking into account the severe food shortage among these afflicted persons and from a humanitarian point of view, the Government of Japan has decided to provide the funds necessary to procure rice, maize and other staples through the WFP.