WFP in need of $580,000 to meet refugees’ needs in Malawi

The continued upsurge in violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries in central and east Africa has prompted up to 400 refugee arrivals in the country each month, pushing the population of Dzaleka refugee camp to its highest level in 10 years.

This was noted when the Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Shuichiro Nishioka visited the refugee camp in central district of Dowa last Friday.

To meet the needs of refugees in Malawi until mid 2015, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) requires an additional $580,000.The camp has over 18,000 refugees.

Shuichiro Nishioka

Shuichiro Nishioka

“Many have lived in the camp for more than a decade, while others have fled recent conflict in the region,” said Nishioka.

The Japanese Ambassador inspected and visited a warehouse belonging to WFP. The warehouse is holding various Japanese-funded commodities which will be distributed to the refugees.

WFP also funded a community centre where refugees, mostly women engage in income generating activities.

However, Nishioka noted that refugees at the camp have limited access to arable land or any means of earning a living, rendering them largely dependent on assistance from WFP, the UN refugee agency UNHCR, non-governmental organizations and the government of Malawi.

‘Japan is pleased to support WFP in Malawi, including for its refugee operations. We know that such assistance not only maintains food security but also contributes to a safer environment as it eases tensions in a place where violence against women is especially high,” said Nishioka.

This year Japan has contributed $2.1 million to WFP operations and of this, $500,000 ensured that WFP could give food assistance to refugees, while the remaining funds enabled UN food agency to provide emergency food relief and early recovery support to food insecure Malawians.

“The Japanese contribution came at a critical time when funds to support the refugees were becoming severely depleted. We are counting on the international community to follow Japan’s example in supporting one of the most vulnerable groups in Malawi,” said WFP Representative Coco Ushiyama.

WFP, UNHCR and other partners are seeking the economic self-reliance of at least part of the refugee population, as well as solutions including voluntary repatriation, resettlement and local integration.

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