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Japan gives $19.5m to four UN agencies


Myanmar children in Kayah State. Photo: Ye Min/Mizzima

Four United Nations agencies have welcomed a grant of US$19.5 million from the Japanese government for humanitarian and development activities in Myanmar.

The “generous and timely” contribution was welcomed by the four agencies in a joint statement after a ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw on March 19 attended by the Japanese ambassador, Mr Tateshi Higuchi.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the agencies – the Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP) – as well as the Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Major-General Tin Aung Chit, and the Deputy Minister for Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr Aung Myat Oo.

Of the aid package, $5.2 million will go to UN-Habitat to help communities affected by conflict and natural disasters, the statement said. The funds will be used to rebuild low-cost housing for vulnerable poor families in Yangon and support the restoration of community infrastructure in conflict-affected communities at Mansi and Momauk townships in Kachin State and Pekkon Township in Shan State.

The UNHCR received $2.3 million to help the government respond to the shelter and other relief needs of internally displaced people in Kachin, northern Shan and Rakhine states.

The contribution of $3.75 million to UNICEF will help to improve maternal and child health and access to feeding programs for children, provide nutrient supplements and support efforts to tackle acute malnutrition in Kachin, northern Shan and Rakhine states. It will also help to increase access to primary, pre-primary and non-formal education and strengthen the protection of children from violence, abuse and exploitation.

The $8.2 million contribution to the WFP will support “life-saving food assistance to internally displaced people in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan states, whose livelihoods have been disrupted by conflict and violence,” the statement said.

The grant will be used to buy the rice, pulses, oil and salt that the WFP distributes each month to IDPs, as well as blended food for children under five and pregnant and nursing mothers to help prevent malnutrition.

“Ninety percent of the food will be purchased locally, thereby also supporting Myanmar farmers and contributing to the national economy,” it said.

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