April 7, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Troika countries, the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Norway have welcomed Sudan’s opening of a second corridor to deliver food assistance to areas affected by the conflict and suffering from famine in South Sudan.
South Sudan, formed after splitting from Sudan in 2011, declared a famine in its parts where 100,000 people are said to be facing starvation. An additional one million people, aid agencies say, are on the brink of facing famine.
“This border crossing will allow for a second access route for emergency food assistance, along with the already open Kosti - Renk river corridor,” said the Troika countries in a joint statement on Thursday.
The Troika countries also recognised Sudan’s efforts to facilitate the flow of food assistance through Port Sudan.
“The Troika notes Sudan has accepted over 365,000 South Sudanese refugees, including more than 60,000 South Sudanese who have entered Sudan in the first three months of 2017, and encourages the government to ensure continued humanitarian access to these refugee communities” adds the statement.
South Sudan has been engulfed by war since 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his rival and former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Since then, more 365,000 South Sudanese refugees, most of them women and children, have arrived in Sudan.
The Troika called on South Sudan’s government to coordinate with the World Food Program (WFP) and partners providing vital assistance, urging “the government and all armed groups to allow full and safe humanitarian access to reach communities in need, and to ensure that food and other commodities are not diverted from the intended beneficiaries”.
“The Troika recommends the opening of additional land and water routes between Sudan and South Sudan so that communities in both countries can benefit from open trade and the efficient and swift movement of humanitarian goods and personnel” further read the statement.
In July 2014, Juba and Khartoum signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to open a humanitarian corridor to deliver food assistance to vulnerable South Sudanese through the River Nile or by road. Last January, the agreement was extended for a six month period.
On 26 March, Sudan announced it would open a second humanitarian corridor to deliver food assistance to the affected in South Sudan.
Last week, WFP announced it has begun providing food assistance to war-torn South Sudan using the new corridor announced by the Sudanese government last week.
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.
Also, the Sudanese government last week said it doesn’t rule out to open an Airbridge to deliver food assistance to South Sudan during the rainy season revealing a proposal to open a third road corridor to transport aid to the needy population in the war-torn nation.