Japan offers $2.5 mln in emergency aid to help Vietnam combat drought

By An Hong   May 31, 2016 | 07:06 pm GMT+7
Japan offers $2.5 mln in emergency aid to help Vietnam combat drought
Dried-up rice is seen on a paddy field stricken by drought in Soc Trang province in Mekong Delta in Vietnam March 30, 2016. Photo by REUTERS/Kham

The Japanese government has pledged a $2.5 million grant to support Vietnam’s fight against the worst drought and salinity it has experienced in almost a century.

The funds will be channeled through UNICEF to handle acute malnutrition and improve water supplies in the most affected areas, said a UNICEF press release on Tuesday.

A joint assessment carried out by the Vietnamese government, the UN and non-governmental organizations in March, estimated that in the 18 most severely affected provinces, as many as two million people have no access to clean water and 1.1 million don’t have enough food.

More than 60,000 women and children are already malnourished, and about 1.75 million people have lost their livelihoods as the drought worsens, according to the assessment.

The emergency program will target 150,000 people who are in desperate need of clean water, and 120,000 pregnant women and 7,000 children who are in need of food aid.

“Japan’s contribution is critical for UNICEF to be able to deliver life-saving interventions for a vulnerable population who are the most exposed to the adverse effects of climate change,” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF representative in Vietnam.

Vietnam has for the first time called on the international community to support a $48.5 million emergency response plan to address the worsening drought in the country.