The first tranche of food assistance pledged by the Government of Japan earlier this year has been provided through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to Sri Lanka, where more than 6 million people – nearly 30 percent of the population, are facing a worsening food crisis.
H.E. Mizukoshi Hideaki, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, handed over the donation to Hon. Nalin Fernando, Minister of Trade, Commerce and Food Security, in the presence of Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, WFP Representative and Country Director, during a ceremony held at the Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Food Security today.
This first tranche forms part of the donation consisting of rice, lentils, and oil, and valued at US$1.5 million, which will be distributed by WFP to approximately 15,000 people in both urban and rural areas and 380,000 schoolchildren.
Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, H.E. Mizukoshi Hideaki 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.”
“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,” said WFP’s Siddiqui.
A recent survey by WFP and FAO indicates that many of the households – over 60 percent – 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 people, including 1.4 million people who are in dire need of emergency food assistance, through food, cash or voucher assistance as well one million schoolchildren and one million pregnant and breastfeeding women by supporting the existing national social safety net programmes.