March 30, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The U.N World Food Programme (WFP) has begun providing food assistance to war-torn South Sudan using a new corridor announced by the Sudanese government this week.
The move comes barely a month after three U.N agencies and government declared an outbreak of famine in parts of South Sudan, while another 1 million people were at the brink of starvation.
WFP said the new route enables transport of food items overland from El Obeid in central Sudan to Bentiu in South Sudan’s Unity state.
“Today [Thursday], the first convoy of 27 trucks carrying an initial 1,200 metric tons of sorghum started moving at 15:00 hours from El Obeid in central Sudan towards Bentiu in South Sudan,” said WFP, adding that convoys will take 5 days to complete the 500km journey.
In the next few weeks, WFP reportedly plans to deliver 11,000 metric tons of sorghum, including 1,000 metric tons donated by the government of Sudan in seven convoys of 30 to 40 trucks.
This, it said, is enough food to feed 300,000 people for three months.
“WFP would like to thank the Government of Sudan for acting decisively by opening this new corridor,” said WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director, Matthew Hollingworth.
“This new route will allow WFP to regularly reach famine-affected people in South Sudan with food assistance and help to avert the consequences of starvation,” he added.
Meanwhile, following the eruption of violence in South Sudan in December 2013, WFP said it has been moving food assistance through a corridor linking White Nile State in Sudan with Upper Nile State in South Sudan. To date, WFP has moved over 57,420 metric tons of assorted commodities through this corridor into South Sudan.
WFP Sudan reportedly also providing food assistance to South Sudanese refugees who now reside in Sudan after fleeing violence and food insecurity in the young nation. Currently WFP is assisting over 250,000 South Sudanese refugees across Sudan, mainly in White Nile State.
Throughout 2017, WFP said it plans to assist more than four million vulnerable people in Sudan, including internally displaced people, refugees, people affected by climate change, and host communities, in areas like emergency food assistance, cash-based transfers (or vouchers), nutritional support, and resilience-building activities to help communities become increasingly independent.