Sudan: UN Team Assessing Food Needs of South Sudanese Refugees in Sudan's Kordofan Province

A team from the United Nations emergency food agency is in Sudan's West Kordofan state to assess the needs of civilians fleeing the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) had provided one month of emergency food rations to 7,489 South Sudanese who have fled to South Kordofan and White Nile states, spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told journalists in Geneva.

The agency is appealing for $58 million for its operations in South Sudan, which are only 30 per cent funded so far, Ms. Byrs said.

An estimated 10,000 people have also crossed into Sudan's South and West Kordofan states, which are themselves facing armed violence, according to figures reported last month by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Wrapping up his two-day visit to the country yesterday, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous stressed that there could be no other solution to the crisis than a political solution.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and 825,000 have been driven from their homes since fighting erupted between President Salva Kiir's forces and those of former deputy president Riek Machar in mid-December.

Both sides signed a ceasefire agreement mediated by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa last month, and Mr. Ladsous reiterated the importance of adhering to that accord.

In a meeting with President Salva Kiir, Mr. Ladsous had conveyed the UN's total support for the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) mediation process which had led to the agreement signed on 23 January for cessation of hostilities.

He added that seeing thousands of people alive at the UN peacekeeping mission's base in Tomping was a clear indicator that UNMISS had made the right decision in opening its gates to civilians, even though living conditions were difficult.

Over 80,000 civilians are currently protected by UNMISS at eight of its compounds throughout the country, according to figures provided today by the Mission, including 43,000 civilians in Juba alone.

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