WFP delivers food to over 26,000 displaced in Southern Kordofan

19 Jun 2011

WFP delivers food to over 26,000 displaced in Southern Kordofan

18 June 2011The World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered food over the past week to more than 26,000 people who have fled ongoing violence in Southern Kordofan State.

In a statement issued yesterday, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran decried the conflict that continued to hinder the organization's efforts to reach more people uprooted by the violence.

"The precarious security situation is preventing us from distributing food to where it is needed most," she said. "For humanitarians it is of grave concern that we have the food, but we cannot get it out to those whose lives depend on it."

Ms. Sheeran said more than 60,000 people were reported to be on the move in remote and inaccessible areas, and that many were vulnerable women and children, who would bear the brunt of violent upheavals.

"It is the height of the hunger season in Sudan and the violence that has engulfed Southern Kordofan is hindering WFP's efforts to reach hundreds of thousands of people in need of food assistance," said Ms. Sheeran. "As the security situation in South Kordofan state deteriorates, I would like to echo the UN Secretary General's deep concern about the escalation in the conflict."

Last week, Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon called on the parties involved to put an immediate end to the fighting, which has caused the death of many civilians and displacement of tens of thousands, and put UN staff directly at risk.

He also urged the parties to give UNMIS and humanitarian agencies unconditional air and ground access to all parts of Southern Kordofan to provide vital assistance to the affected population.

A report on the WFP website that ongoing insecurity had prevented the agency from reaching its warehouse in Kadugli, which was stocked with 620 metric tons of food. To meet emergency food needs of those displaced, WFP routed five trucks carrying 300 metric tons of food from its warehouse in El Obeid towards the UNMIS compound in Kadugli.

"We were able to organize food distribution for 8,500 people sheltering in the vicinity of the UNMIS compound in Kadugli," said Mahadevan Ramachandran, a WFP official overseeing operations in Kadugli. "With the assistance of UNMIS in Talodi, we also managed to get food out to 11,000 people there."

Another 3,000 displaced people in Heiban received 15-day full rations on 11 June and 4,000 displaced people in Kauda received the same package on Sunday, 12 June. WFP is working with all partners to find alternative routes to deliver food assistance to those who fled to remote areas.

A 15 June report from the Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs said that more than 61,000 people had been displaced by clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), with more than 35,000 people believed to be moving to El Obeid in Northern Kordofan, as fighting continued in Kadugli, Kauda and Heiban.

"If we are to reach the most vulnerable in the coming days, it is vital that we have the secure and unhindered humanitarian access that is essential for our life-saving work delivering food to the hungry," said Ms. Sheeran.

Sudan -- WFP's biggest assistance operation worldwide -- was already receiving food for more than 400,000 people in Southern Kordofan through a mix of initiatives, including school feeding, food for training, food for work and food for recovery, even before the recent violence broke out. With the ongoing conflict, WFP is focusing mainly on those affected by violence and in need of emergency food assistance.