2 August 2012

Sudan: WFP Plans Air Drops to Continue Lifesaving Food Assistance to Refugees in South Sudan

Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
People displaced by conflict waiting for food distribution (file photo).

WFP's response to the food and nutrition needs of refugees in Maban County in Upper Nile state:

• WFP is planning a series of air drops, to deliver up to 2,000 metric tons of food to Maban County, beginning in mid-August. This operation will allow vital food distributions to continue uninterrupted to the refugees who have fled fighting in Sudan's Blue Nile State and sought refuge in South Sudan. In July alone, WFP supported about 105,000 refugees in Maban County settlements.

• WFP has been urgently moving food to the camps on river barges, trucks and helicopters. However, the recent sudden influx of 35,000 refugees into Maban County brought a sharp increase in food needs just as the rainy season set in, making movement of food into the area far more challenging.

• Health workers are reporting alarming levels of malnutrition among children in the newly established Yusuf Batil camp, where many new refugees have arrived in a weakened condition and battling illness. WFP is providing specialised nutritional commodities to all children under the age of 5 in the settlement, and will also provide nutritional support to thousands of children in the other refugee settlements, both to treat those who are diagnosed as moderately malnourished and to prevent worsening malnutrition.

• Elsewhere in South Sudan, WFP will also airdrop about 3,000 metric tons of food to the Yida refugee camps in Unity State, where an influx of refugees doubled the population in a matter of weeks. WFP's prepositioned food stocks will last until September, but more food will be needed for the estimated 60,000 refugees in Yida through to the end of the rainy season, during which time the camp is completely inaccessible by road.

• WFP has appealed to donors for US$6.5 million to fund the airdrops in Maban and Yida.

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