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Japan helps WFP maintain food assistance to families in Palestine amidst funding crunch

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RAMALLAH – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution of JPY 300 million (US$2.8 million approximately) from the Government of Japan that will help WFP meet the pressing food needs of the most vulnerable Palestinian families in Gaza and the West Bank.

This contribution from the Government of Japan will enable WFP to continue providing food assistance to more than 72,500 food insecure people in Gaza and the West Bank through electronic vouchers. They can use the voucher to buy food items of their choice, including fresh dairy produce, eggs and vegetables as well as cereals and pulses in any of over 300 designated shops.

A portion of the contribution will also be used to buy canned tuna that WFP use in emergency response interventions.

“Japan has shown its continued commitment to the people of Palestine by increasing its financial support and allowing WFP to sustain a lifeline of assistance to those most in need,” said WFP Representative in Palestine Stephen Kearney. “This could not have come at a better time as WFP is facing severe funding challenges in Palestine right now. The people we’re assisting really depend on us for their food needs and we are doing everything we can to maintain the same level of assistance.”

Food insecurity in Gaza and the West Bank is on the rise as the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated unemployment and poverty; the main drivers of food insecurity in Palestine. One third of Palestine’s population were food insecure prior to the pandemic – that is, they did not have regular access to food or did not know where their next meal is coming from. Families are resorting more frequently to negative and desperate measures to survive - such as purchasing food on credit, borrowing food from relatives and friends and eating less meals each day.

“The outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis in Palestine has exacerbated the existing deteriorating health and socio-economic conditions of the most vulnerable communities in Gaza and the West Bank. We hope that this assistance will contribute to alleviating their hardships,” said Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine Masayuki Magoshi. “WFP has been an important partner of the Government of Japan for many years and we would like to express again our appreciation of WFP’s efforts exerted towards mitigating poverty and fighting hunger.”

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis in Palestine, WFP has ensured continued delivery of food assistance for more than 345,000 non-refugees who regularly rely on food assistance due to their severe food insecurity and poverty. WFP food assistance is a key pillar of the Ministry of Social Development’s Social Protection schemes and the ministry’s response to food needs of affected people by the pandemic. With available resources, WFP has provided food vouchers to an additional 65,000 people who are most vulnerable to the pandemic, including elderly people, persons with disabilities, women and children, to alleviate their hardships. New donor funding is critical for WFP to maintain its assistance to the most vulnerable in Gaza and the West Bank.

While recently honoured by the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, WFP continues to work with national partners and NGOs globally and in Palestine to help achieve Zero Hunger for people affected by conflicts. This is possible only thanks to the support and contributions from governments, private companies and individuals. Having contributed more than US$24 million to WFP over the past five years, Japan is among WFP’s top donors in Palestine, as well as one of the largest donors to the organization globally.

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The United Nations World Food Programme - saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

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