Sudan: UN Expands Aid To Conflict-Ravaged Blue Nile State After First Delivery In 19 Months

The United Nations has been able to reach 51,000 people with food aid in Sudan's Blue Nile state in the week since it managed to start its first deliveries in the conflict-wracked region in 19 months, but it needs more funds to feed all those in need there.

The first round of distributions consisted of two-month food rations for about 12,000 people in Geissan and 39,000 in Kurmuk, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced today.

It plans to reach people in six localities before the rainy season begins in May but it still needs some $20 million to secure 17,000 metric tons of food for the response.

In what it called a "major breakthrough," WFP last week announced that the first UN food rations reached conflict-affected people in Blue Nile state since 2011, when the isolated rural area near the South Sudan border was cut off by insecurity and movement restrictions imposed by the Government.

"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," WFP Country Director Adnan Khan said at the time.

Fighting between the Sudanese armed forces and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) broke out in the state after neighbouring South Sudan seceded under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a decades-long civil war. The fighting in Blue Nile displaced and then isolated tens of thousands of people.

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