By THOMAS KEAN | FRONTIER
YANGON — A US$31.7 million (36.9 billion kyat) donation from Japan will enable the United Nations to carry out vital aid work in some of the poorest areas of the country, particularly Chin and Rakhine states, four agencies said in a joint statement today.
The World Food Programme will get the largest share of the funding, with $19 million, while UN-Habitat ($5.1 million), the Food and Agriculture Organization ($4.5 million) and UN Refugee Agency ($3.1 million) also received support.
The UN said it welcomed the “generous” contribution from Japan, already one of Myanmar’s largest providers of development assistance.
“With Japan’s timely contribution and in partnership with the government of Myanmar, WFP will enable recovery of the most affected communities across 20 townships in Chin and Rakhine States and for this, we are most thankful.” said Dom Scalpelli, country director and resident representative of WFP Myanmar.
Both UN-Habitat and FAO will use the funding to help communities affected by last year’s flooding, which caused widespread damage across four states and regions.
In Chin State, UN-Habitat plans to rebuild community infrastructure, increase access to safe drinking water and reconstruct housing, while FAO will work to improve agricultural livelihoods in communities affected by conflict and floods in Rakhine and Chin states.
UNHCR will use the funding to support displaced people in Rakhine State and those without citizenship across the country.
The money was formally handed over at a ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw on April 27, with Minister for Border Affairs Lieutenant General Ye Aung accepting it on behalf of the government.
In January, the Japan Times reported that the Abe government was considering a development assistance package of close to $1 billion for the new government.
During a March meeting with Hiroto Izumi, special adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi urged Japan to increase its aid to Myanmar, according to the Financial Times.