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Japanese ambassador visits Zaatari camp, observes WFP refugee assistance firsthand

By JT - May 28,2024 - Last updated at May 28,2024

Okuyama Jiro, ambassador of Japan to Jordan, visits the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan (Photo courtesy of WFP)

AMMAN — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today accompanied Okuyama Jiro, the ambassador of Japan to Jordan, during a visit to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, according to a statement for The Jordan Times. 

Ambassador Okuyama engaged with a family benefiting from WFP assistance, listening firsthand to their experiences and challenges. He also toured a WFP-contracted supermarket, witnessing the use of blockchain and iris-scanning technologies for redeeming WFP assistance in camps. 

Reflecting on the visit, Ambassador Okuyama emphasised Japan’s commitment to supporting vulnerable refugees, saying, “Amid the growing need to address the alarming levels of food insecurity and the increasing vulnerability of refugees in Jordan, this project aims to help them meet their nutritional needs through cash assistance and various community activities. It is my sincere hope that Japan’s new contribution will assist WFP in providing crucial and urgent support to increasingly vulnerable families in camps and host communities,” according to the statement.

WFP country director in Jordan, Alberto Correia Mendes, expressed gratitude for Japan’s continuous support, stating, “The support from Japan and other partners is more crucial than ever as we navigate through these challenging times, especially given the growing needs by vulnerable refugee families posed by reduced assistance due to funding constraints.”

With the support of donor partners, WFP provides monthly cash-based assistance to 410,000 refugees in Jordan’s camps and host communities who rely on humanitarian support to meet their basic food needs. However, since July 2023, funding shortfalls forced WFP to reduce the value of its monthly cash assistance for refugees by one-third, the statement said. 

Japan has supported WFP’s refugee response in Jordan for over a decade, a commitment reaffirmed by ambassador Okuyama’s recent visit. This year, Japan’s contribution enabled WFP to assist 24,896 refugees for one month and conduct activities aimed at promoting good nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children under two years old.

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