August 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan said that representatives from the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan have approved an operational plan that will open a humanitarian corridor between the two countries.
The plan, which was developed and prepared by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), will enable the latter to deliver close to 63,000 metric tonnes of life-saving food assistance to 744,000 people in the northern parts of South Sudan who have been affected by the conflict in South Sudan since December 2013.
Following a meeting with the then head of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde Johnson, last June, Sudan’s first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh agreed to facilitate the transportation of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan.
Last month, 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.
Johnson said that the UN relies heavily on Sudan to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of South Sudan, besides contributing to resolving the ongoing conflict in the newborn state.
She also praised Sudanese government role in the IGAD led mediation between warring parties in South Sudan, saying it can play a significant role in the search for a solution to South Sudan’s crisis.
The humanitarian situation in South Sudan has deteriorated drastically as result of the violence that erupted in the country since 15 December 2013. UN agencies estimate that, over 1, 3 million people have been affected by the conflict and are in need of assistance.
The UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Khartoum, Ali Al-Za’tari, said in statement on Tuesday that the approval of the operational plan puts the UN in a better position to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected and vulnerable people in South Sudan, particularly those in the states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile, which share a border with Sudan.
He added that cooperation between the two governments leads to better serves interests of the two people.
According to a recent report issued by the WFP on the regional impact of South Sudan crisis, more than 86,000 South Sudanese have arrived in Sudan since mid-December.
The WFP report noted that relocation of South Sudanese refugees to the three sites in White Nile state is complete, warning these sites may not be sufficient if the situation deteriorates further and the influx continues.
It added that Sudanese authorities are in the process of identifying two additional sites to resettle new arrivals, projecting that 165,000 new refugees from South Sudan will have arrived by the end of 2014.
Sudanese government reports also mention that some 22,700 people are in Khartoum state. The newcomers join their relatives who stay in open areas in the Sudanese capital, as well other areas on the city outskirts.