ISLAMABAD: The Government of Japan has announced a contribution of USD 7 million to UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Food Programme (WFP) to support the Afghan Refugees and host communities in Pakistan.
According to an announcement of Japan embassy here on Thursday, the Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt Gen (Rtd) Abdul Qadir Baloch and the ambassador of Japan made the official announcement during a press event held in Islamabad.
The Acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR Assistant Representative (Protection) Tracey Maulfair, WFP Country Director and Representative Finbarr Curran, and Representatives from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) secretariat and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government were also present on the occasion.
The government of Japan has allocated USD 3 million to UNHCR for implementation of its priority interventions in the provision of legal assistance to refugees in the country and its programmes in the areas of education healthcare and vocational training.
This generous contribution by the government of Japan will, in addition to providing legal assistance to an estimated 22,500 refugees in Pakistan, support an estimated 50,000 persons from the refugee population and the communities hosting them in accessing health care and education, as well as some 210 youths who will be undergoing vocational training courses throughout Pakistan.
The government of Japan has allocated the remaining USD 4 million to WFP to support 82,389 beneficiaries including 42,874 children of 6-59 months of age and 39,515 pregnant and lactating women over the period of six months.
It will enable WFP to procure a total of 1,097 metric ton of locally produced quality ‘Ready-to-Use supplementary foods’ (Acha Mum and Maamta) that will be distributed in four districts of KP province, Peshawar, Nowshera, Hangu and Kohat, identified as the districts hosting the highest number of Afghan refugees and host communities.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch said, “The interventions are in line with the government of Pakistan’s priorities to ensure adequate nutritious food provision to Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan.
The government of Pakistan is committed to maintain food security and protection of the Afghan population living in Pakistan. The government of Japan has been an active partner of the government of Pakistan in supporting the refugees and returns which contributes to the peace and stability in the region. The ministry of SAFRON will be working in close liaison with UNHCR and WFP to provide continuous support to Afghan refugees and host communities in Pakistan.”
Speaking at the occasion, Ambassador of Japan Takashi Kurai said, “The government of Japan attaches great importance to supporting Afghan refugees and their host communities which have provided shelters so much needed to them for more than three decades. With this grant from people of Japan, assistance will be provided to host communities as well as Afghan refugees.
“I am sure that this assistance will significantly alleviate the burden on them. Japan has been assisting Afghan refugees in Pakistan and their host communities for more than ten years with the grant aid of more than USD 200 million. I hope this grant aid will be fully utilized and put positive impact, particularly, on the young generations and thus the future of Afghan refugees and host communities.”
The Acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Indrika Ratwatte expressed gratitude to the government and people of Japan for demonstrating their commitment and supporting the uprooted people.
“Japan has always been a strong supporter of the global humanitarian efforts,” Ratwatte said, adding with this contribution, WFP and UNHCR will be able to provide meaningful support and assistance to those in need”.
WFP Country Director and Representative Finbarr Curran said, “The government of Japan has been a key partner in ensuring food security and nutrition for temporarily displaced Pakistanis as well as Afghan refugees.
This contribution will provide timely support for the tripartite agreement, between governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, for the sustainable return of Afghan refugees to their country of origin. WFP foresees that the investment in nutrition will have a positive long term impact on the economic development of both countries.”
Pakistan has been home to millions of Afghans for more than 37 years and continues to host the world’s largest protracted refugee population.