Khartoum — The United Nations World Food Programme has started providing urgently-needed food assistance to the conflict-affected people in Blue Nile state. This is the first time that the agency has distributed food assistance since the conflict broke out in September 2011, forcing thousands to flee their homes, many of them crossing into neighbouring Ethiopia and South Sudan.
"We are giving a two-month ration for this first round of distribution, following an assessment which we carried out early last month in two of the areas most severely affected by the conflict -- Geissan and Kurmuk," said WFP Programme Officer Arduino Mangoni, who is in Geissan leading a team that monitors the distribution.
In these two localities, WFP plans to reach more than 51,000 conflict-affected people, with some 12,000 in Geissan and another 39,000 in Kurmuk.
Another WFP team is already on the ground carrying out assessments in four other localities in Blue Nile state where it currently has access. Through assessments, WFP is able to determine how people have been coping to meet their food needs, what food is available in the market and the prices at which food is sold.
"The overall plan is to assist all those we can reach in the six localities before the onset of the rainy season in May," said WFP Sudan Country Director Adnan Khan.
"While we continue to strive for access to all areas, this is still a major breakthrough which will enable us to assist those who continue to be displaced by the conflict or those who have decided to return to their homes and are in dire need of food assistance. For this immediate response, we will need an additional US$20.5 million which will be used to buy 17,000 metric tons of food."
Before the conflict began, WFP was providing food assistance to some 183,000 vulnerable people in Blue Nile state, most of them in Kurmuk, the poorest locality where there are high levels of food insecurity.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
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Amor Almagro,WFP/Khartoum, Tel. +249 183248001 ext 2114, Mob. +249 912174853
Huda Mustafa,WFP/Khartoum, Tel. +249 183248001 ext 2107, Mob + 249 91270371
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Mob+2010 666 34352
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