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Japan gives $8 million to boost food security in Yemen

31 gennaio 2019 | 19.36
LETTURA: 3 minuti

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Photo: Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post

Japan has contributed over 8 million dollars to help the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation improve food security and nutrition for some 200,000 of the most vulnerable households affected by the war in Yemen, where the world's worst humanitarian crisis in modern times is looming - FAO said in a statement on Thursday.

The Japanese funds will go towards inputs and services in Yemen's crucial agriculture sector, including the distribution of cereal and legumes seeds, restocking of livestock, and the rehabilitation of irrigation systems and other agricultural facilities, using "cash for work", the FAO statement said.

These measures will help hungry households produce life-saving food and generate income as well as stimulate local economies through rural job creation, the statement said.

"FAO is on the frontlines in the fight against hunger in Yemen, providing extremely vulnerable people with the means to resume and maintain food production for their families and their communities," said FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva.

"This generous contribution from the Government of Japan allows us to continue supporting the Yemeni people in this time of their greatest need. It will enable FAO to help save the lives and the livelihoods of the country's most food insecure people and to put agriculture back on track to reduce their dependence on food assistance and food imports in the long run".

Under the project, FAO also intends to focus on emergency livestock assistance and protection. Provision of animal feed and animal health services such as vaccination campaigns will ensure that products, especially milk, are available to the most vulnerable members of the poor families - especially children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The Japanese funding will also enable FAO to improve food production practices and strengthen communities' ability to manage land, soil and water resources in a sustainable manner, as well as their resilience.

Some 83 million dollars of funding will be needed in the next six months to assist 1.6 million of the most vulnerable and food-insecure Yemenis through with cash-based assistance and measures to improve agricultural livelihoods, according to a new famine prevention plan for Yemen, just released by FAO.

The current humanitarian situation in Yemen is worse than any the world has experienced in the last few decades. With the conflict now entering its fifth year, almost 16 million people in Yemen (53 percent of the population) are experiencing severe acute hunger, FAO said.

Without humanitarian food assistance, over 20 million people (67 percent of the population) would be severely food insecure and a significant number would be on the brink of famine, the UN agency said.

The grinding conflict has severely compromised food production, destroyed people's livelihoods and reduced their purchasing power, making it difficult for many Yemenis to meet minimal food needs, said FAO.

Malnutrition levels also continue to soar in the impoverished country and over 3 million pregnant and nursing women and children under five need support to prevent or cure malnutrition.

FAO is appealing for a total 218.5 million dollars to provide agricultural support to 8.6 million people in Yemen this year.

Japan is the second largest contributor to FAO's regular budget, and a leading voluntary contributor to FAO's field programmes. Between 2014 and 2017, Japan invested more than 310 million dollars, including 90 million dollars in voluntary contributions.

In 2018, Japan's essential support to FAO's global humanitarian programme reached just over 17 million dollars, according to FAO.

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