IOM envoy visits local food distribution points

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THE Japanese Ambassador to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Advisor for Africa, Shinichi Kitajima visited a food distribution site in Bulawayo where food handouts were being given to displaced people living at Trenance community.

“IOM supports 268 households (1 117 individuals) with food aid based on assessments conducted jointly by the World Food Program (WFP). The ration size per person per month is cereals 10kg, pulses 1,8kg and vegetable oil 0,6kg,” said IOM media spokesperson Zuzana Jankechova.

She said the visiting Japanese envoy would also visit the Plumtree Reception and Support Centre where IOM gives support in the form of transportation, food and health to deportees from Botswana.

While in Bulawayo, Kitajima visited a youth safe zone in Mzilikazi where young Zimbabweans between the age 15 and 24 were being taught about the risks and realities of irregular migration.

He also visited a shelter project in Victoria Falls where IOM, with the assistance of beneficiaries and the support of local authorities, responded to the needs of Mkhosana community.

IOM has also assisted in the relocation and as construction of transitional shelter for the Mkhosana people during 2009.

Jankechova said the IOM assisted around 708 people through its Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programmme to return to Zimbabwe from the UK since 2002.

“Around 708 people have returned to Zimbabwe from the UK since 2002 and the majority of the people have opted to start small businesses that have helped them reintegrate into society,” said Jankechova.

The IOM is an inter governmental agency that works on managing migration and assisting migrants in need including refugees and the internally displaced people.

Jankechova said the majority of the people living at the centre were former farm workers who were displaced at the height of the government’s land reform programme in the early 2000s.