By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
September 25, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - The UN World Food Program (WFP) said it has delivered food aid to refugee camps in South Sudan in a series of air drops by planes taking off from neighbouring Ethiopia.
Sudan failed to implement a humanitarian tripartite plan to reach civilians in the areas held by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -North (SPLM-N). However, Khartoum contested the air drops saying UN agencies should not encourage civilians to go refugees camps in South Sudan.
- WFP flight preparing for South Sudan aid drop (WFP)
The relief food supply is to assist thousands of refugees who have fled fighting in Sudan’s troubled Blue Nile state and sought refuge in South Sudan.
The WFP said that there are more than 100,000 people in urgent need of aid and that “the airdrop operation was critical to bring food as fast as possible to them.”
WFP’s emergency food drops are in response to the sudden influx of 35,000 refugees into Maban county, Upper Nile state where infrastructure are poor and land deliveries become more challenging due the rainy season.
WFP Country Director, Abdou Dieng, said more than 1,000 metric tons of food supply was airdropped in Maban county by planes taking off from Ethiopia’s Gambella state between mid-August and 17 September.
In addition to the airdrop, WFP - during the stated period of time - has also delivered 1,600 metric tons of wheat into South Sudan from Ethiopia by barge via the Akobo river to Melut in Upper Nile state.
The WFP has thanked Ethiopian authorities for facilitating and cooperating to the successful operation.