Food Aid through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

March 19, 2007


1.  The Government of Japan has decided to extend food aid totaling 670 million yen through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to the following three countries which have vulnerable groups facing serious food shortage caused by poverty or in a fragile transitional stage.  Notes to this effect were exchanged on March 19 (Mon) in Rome between Mr. Yuji Nakamura, Japanese Ambassador to Italy, and Mr. Jean-Jacques Graisse, Senior Deputy Executive Director of the WFP.

The breakdown of this assistance is as follows:

  (1)  For vulnerable groups in the Republic of Guinea  (180 million yen)
 (2)  For vulnerable groups in the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe  (130 million yen)
  (3) For vulnerable groups in the Somali Democratic Republic  (360 million yen)   
 

 2.   Guinea’s political and social situation has been unstable partly because of a general strike triggered by the worsening economy in 2006 and a series of clashes between demonstrators and security forces that resulted in more than 200 casualties in the general strike from January to February 2007.

  The strike was suspended by an appointment of new prime minister at the end of February.  Guinea, one of the poorest nations in the world, ranked 156th in the 177 nations in the UNDP human development index in 2005 and 9.4% of children aged five or under are estimated to be suffering from extreme malnutrition and 34.8% from chronic malnutrition.
 
  Sao Tome and Principe, one of the poorest nations in the world, ranked 126th in the 177 nations in the UNDP human development index in 2005.  There is a rise in prices of the cocoa beans which are a major export, and its economy has been comparatively stable in recent years.  However, the price of grain and of crude oil is soaring with the result that the rice, which is the staple food, is now in short supply.

  In Somalia, strife between the opposing groups has been continuing to the present since a civil war broke out in 1991.  Somalia was also attacked by natural disasters such as drought, flooding, and tsunami.  Because of the disasters, 1.4 million people or more are suffering from food shortage, and 20% of the residents in certain areas are suffering from extreme malnutrition.
 

3.   The Government of Japan has decided to extend this food aid in response to a request from the WFP from a humanitarian point of view and considering the situation of vulnerable groups in these countries.

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