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WFP concerned over Sudan’s food security

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July 21, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Sudan has expressed deep concern on the “bleak prospects” of the level of food security during the coming months.

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A displaced mother and her child as she prepares a meal for the family outside the UNAMID compound in Khor Abeche, 83km north-east of Nyala, South Darfur on 12 May 2014 (Photo: UNAMID/ Albert Gonzalez Farran)

The WFP media official and spokesperson in Khartoum, Amor Almagro, told Sudan Tribune on Monday that lack of security besides displacement and low-levels of rain and rising food prices adversely impact food security of vulnerable population in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states.

Almagro dismissed that these areas could face “famine conditions” in the future, saying the situation does not qualify to that description. However, she underscored that the situation is not good.

On 11 July, the governor of South Darfur state, Adam Mahmoud Jar al-Nabi, acknowledged that his state is facing food shortage, predicting the situation could turn into a food gap.

He called upon residents to perform Istisga (rain prayer) following low-levels of rain, announcing agreement with the central government to provide strategic food stock.

The head of Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Comission (HAC) emergency department, Mutasim Abu al-Gasim, said in press statement on Friday that HAC is ready to intervene to cover any food gap in the country particularly in conflict areas.

He pointed that food gaps take place in areas affected by tribal conflicts, civil wars, lack of rain, and diminishing of cultivated lands, adding that several states witnessed low-levels of rain last year which lowered agricultural production.

Almagro said they initially predicted to reach around 3.9 million of the displaced and needy population in various conflicts areas in this year, pointing the number has reached 4.1 million in the last couple of months which necessitates the need to acquire additional aid.

She said the WFP planned to provide assistance for 1.9 million displaced persons in Darfur in the beginning of the year but the continuing conflicts raised the number to 2.2 million besides another 2 million of the food insecure people in various areas of the country.

The spokesperson further disclosed that donors responded to the WFP needs and helped it overcome various challenges, saying that a press statement will be issued on Tuesday to announce a €9 million fund provided by the European Union (EU) in support of the WFP activities.

The WFP’s food security official, Bakri Osman, told Sudan Tribune that Darfur states every year witness a “critical period” according to the standards the food security between May and December, saying families suffer during this period from shortage in food stocks.

He pointed that the WFP seeks to assist the needy population through providing a food basket which includes sorghum, oil and sugar, saying they also offer coupons for about 500.000 displaced persons allowing them to acquire other commodities.

Osman also added that rising prices besides low-levels of rain and deterioration in security situation hinder livelihoods and put additional burden on the world’s largest humanitarian agency.

Last week, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Khartoum said it was forced to amend its plan in Sudan in order to meet the growing needs during the first half of this year.

The total amount of money needed by the aid groups in Sudan is currently estimated at $982 million in order to assist 6.9 million people, about 20% of the population.

(ST)

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