Mozambique: Japan Donates 2.7 Million Dollars for Food Aid

The Japanese government on Tuesday announced that it is donating 2.7 million US dollars to Mozambique in response to the severe drought that has hit the south and centre of the country.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that it had decided to extend 5 million dollars of emergency aid to Southern Africa through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in response to food shortages. It added, “this emergency grant aid is to provide food and nutrition support to Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland, in the light of serious humanitarian needs such as food shortages and malnutrition caused by the El Nino phenomenon”.

The El Nino weather phenomena is characterised by an abnormal warming of the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean and has a significant effect on weather around the world. In Mozambique, it is associated with a lack of rain during what is the wettest part of the year- January to March.

In a statement, the Japanese Embassy in Maputo wrote, “the government expresses its solidarity with the Mozambican people and, with this food aid, hopes to improve the nutritional status of the population located in areas hit by this phenomenon’.

According to the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), at least 1.5 million Mozambicans are suffering from food insecurity and a lack of water for human consumption and livestock.

International relief agencies have warned of the urgent need for humanitarian assistance due to the worst drought that has hit the country in 35 years.

On Monday, the European Union and Austrian Development Cooperation announced that they are giving 1.6 million euros (just under 1.8 million dollars) to a consortium of international non-governmental organisations working in Mozambique to tackle hunger and build resilience to climate change.

The funds will be spent by a consortium known as COSACA, which consists of the international humanitarian organisations CARE, Concern Worldwide, Save the Children and Oxfam. COSACA aims to ensure that 500,000 people have access to food and safe water and to help communities become more resilient in the face of climate change. Among the measures introduced will be the provision of drought-tolerant seeds with shorter growing cycles.

Last week, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) declared a regional disaster and launched an appeal for 2.4 billion dollars to assist the millions of people hit by drought. It estimates that the number of food-insecure people in the SADC region is about 40 million, which is 14 per cent of the total population. Of this number, an estimated 23 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

Six SADC states have declared national drought emergencies – Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. In addition, South Africa has declared an emergency in eight of its nine provinces, and Mozambique has declared a red alert in its southern and central provinces.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique.