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Khartoum, Juba sign agreement on transit of humanitarian relief

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July 9, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese government has officially agreed to allow the transit of humanitarian aid to the neighbouring South Sudan in order to avoid a humanitarian disaster following the eruption of fighting since December 2013.

The foreign ministry in Khartoum announced that the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to allow the expedition of aid across its border and river transport to feed thousands of affected civilians.

The bilateral agreement, which was signed on Tuesday by Sudanese acting commissioner for humanitarian aid, Ali Adam and South Sudanese ambassador to Khartoum, provides that UN World Food Programme (WFP) will be tasked with the transportation of relief.

Following a meeting with the then head of UN Mission in South Sudan, Hilde Johnson last month, Sudan’s first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh agreed to facilitate the transportation of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan.

Days before the end of its tenure, Johnson told reporters in New York that UN officials are worried that famine could hit the new country in a few months.

"This is one of the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world and we are worried that famine can come within any time and hit levels that we have not seen before in the history of South Sudan", she further said.

Last May The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS-Net) said that about 3.5 million South Sudanese are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. 2.4 million people face food insecurity at the Crisis level and 1.1 million people are at the Emergency level.

The roughly 30 per cent of the population is mainly concentrated in the troubled Unity, Upper Nile and Jongeli states which are not fare from the Sudanese border.

(ST)

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