Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Japan to give relief to Congolese refugees in Rwanda


A refugee prepares a meal at Nkamira transit centre last year.
More than 32,000 Congolese refugees in Rwanda are set to get food, relief, medical treatment, better sanitation and education, thanks to a $5.9 million donation from Japanese government.

A statement from the UNHCR Kigali office quotes Shigeru Kondo, the charger d’affaires at the Embassy of Japan in Kigali as saying the donation is aimed at improving the welfare of Congolese in the country.

“The Japanese government decided to contribute towards refugee protection programmes by the UN in Rwanda because these organisations provide life-sustaining assistance to the most vulnerable. It is our hope that these funds will help alleviate the suffering of the Congolese refugees while we all work together towards a durable solution,” the statement reads in part.

The contribution goes to Unicef, WFP and the UNHCR, which coordinates the overall humanitarian response to the continuing refugee influx from war-torn eastern DR Congo.

“We express our deep gratitude to the people and the Government of Japan for their unwavering support to the on-going humanitarian crisis in the region,” said Neimah Warsame, UNHCR’s representative in Rwanda.

The statement said $2 million of the contribution will go to UNHCR for immediate humanitarian needs of refugees. Unicef received $2.2m, and WFP $1.7m. 

“We are grateful to the support from Japan, which strongly commits itself to funding a protective child care system so that we can address the educational, protection, and psychosocial needs of refugee children,” said Unicef Representative Noala Skinner.

“Last year we experienced a shortage of funds which almost led to a temporary shortage of food items,” said Abdoulaye Balde, the WFP Country Director. 

Since April, last year, at least 32,000 Congolese refugees have  crossed into the country, and are sheltered at various transit centres.


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