The first tranche of food assistance pledged by the Government of Japan under the United Nations World Food Programme earlier this year has been handed over.
Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka Hideaki Mizukoshi handed over the donation to the Minister of Trade, Commerce and Food Security Nalin Fernando at the Ministry of Trade today. Representative and Country Director of the United Nations World Food Programme to Sri Lanka Abdur Rahim Siddiqui was also present during the event.
The consignment valued at USD1.5 million consists of rice, lentils, and oil. The consignment is scheduled to be distributed by WFP to approximately 15,000 individuals in both urban and rural areas and 380,000 school children.
Speaking during the event, Ambassador Mizukoshi said, “It is our great honour that we are able to handover the first tranche of essential food supplies today with the rapid procurement of WFP, which will be delivered to vulnerable families and children across the island who are facing extreme hardship, amidst prevailing food shortages and soaring food prices during this unprecedented economic crisis. We sincerely hope that this humanitarian assistance will provide relief to all the people in need and help them meet their daily nutritional requirement.”
WFP’s Siddiqui said “I thank the people of Japan for this timely contribution. The Japanese Government was one of the first to pledge support to WFP’s appeal. The donation will go a long way in addressing Sri Lanka’s growing food insecurity while shortages of food and other essentials and skyrocketing prices continue to impact millions of people’s ability to maintain an adequate and nutritious diet.”
A recent survey conducted by the WFP and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicates over 60 percent of households are resorting to coping mechanisms, such as reducing portion sizes and eating less nutritious food, which could aggravate the already-high malnutrition rates among women and children.
In response, WFP is mobilizing funds and support to provide emergency assistance to 3.4 million individuals, including 1.4 million who are in dire need of emergency food assistance, through food, cash or voucher assistance as well one million school children and one million expectant mothers by supporting the existing national social safety net programmes.