The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed $ 1.46 million support donated by the Japanese Government for Burundian refugees living in Mahama refugee camp and other reception centres.
The funding announced earlier this month in Italy will provide food and nutrition assistance to over 53,000 Burundian refugees.
“The Japanese contribution is much appreciated and very timely,” Jean-Pierre de Margerie, WFP Rwanda Country Director said in a statement.
“It will allow WFP to continue general food distribution to over 53,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda for the coming months.”
Takayuki Miyashita, the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, said the latest donation was out of realisation of the fact that nutrition is the very foundation of health.
“The people of Japan are acutely aware that nutrition is the very foundation of health and is therefore stepping up its support for the alleviation of hunger and malnutrition among the most vulnerable people. This is why we have decided to intervene through WFP immediately after the previous assistance in last December amounting up to 1.4 million,” Amb. Takayuki Miyashita said, at the time of the exchange of funding letters in Rome, Italy.
WFP is currently providing food assistance to more than 150,000 people each month, under its refugee operations in Rwanda, according to officials.
These include 138,000 Burundian and Congolese women, men and children residing in refugee camps in Rwanda, who entirely depend on assistance to meet their daily food needs, and 12,200 school children from the host community attending the same schools as the refugee children among other beneficiaries.
A recent joint mass screening among children under five by UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP revealed that the prevalence of global acute malnutrition is decreasing over time compared to the last screening (from 4.1% in July 2015 to 2.6 % in December 2016), among camp based Burundian refugees.
In Mahama camp, 46 percent of Burundi refugees are children.
These great nutritional advances have been made possible by the generosity of countries like Japan, who now ranks among WFP Rwanda’s top five donors, the statement said.