UN agency to feed nearly 2 million people in southern Sudan in 2007
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) plans to feed nearly 2 million people in southern Sudan this year, the agency said in a statement today marking the second anniversary of a peace accord that ended 21 years of war between Government and rebel forces.
“In 2007, we will increasingly focus on recovery and development-oriented projects such as Food for Work, Food for Training and Food for Education, aimed at assisting the people of the South to revive their economy and rebuild their lives and livelihoods so they can sustain themselves,” WFP country representative Kenro Oshidari said.
Overall, WFP plans to call for $685 million to feed 5.5 million people in South Sudan, Darfur in the west, where a separate conflict is raging, and the central, east and other areas. So far, donors have committed $140 million, or 20 per cent. WFP is strongly urging more contributions now so that food can be bought and delivered well before the rainy season starts, as early as March in South Sudan, making roads impassable.
Under WFP plans for the south, 430,000 returnees are expected to receive food to meet their immediate needs and support reintegration into their home communities, 450,000 children will receive school feeding, nearly 100,000 people will benefit from therapeutic, supplementary and institutional feeding, and more than 160,000 others will participate in food for work and food for training programmes.
In addition, nearly 568,000 others, many of them children and mothers, are expected to receive food aid to meet their nutritional needs.
Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on 9 January 2005, WFP has helped to lay the foundations for the recovery of South Sudan’s economy by feeding nearly 2 million people a year including 600,000 people who have returned after fleeing the conflict. “WFP congratulates the people of South Sudan on their achievements since the peace agreement was signed,” Mr. Oshidari said.
WFP has made tangible improvements to the battered infrastructure of South Sudan, by repairing more than 1,850 kilometres of roads and removing more than 250,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance from transport routes. The Road Repair and Mine Clearance Project, which received a $30 million donation from the Government of South Sudan last year, will continue to rebuild 1,000 kilometres of roads in 2007.
“WFP started repairing the roads so that we could move food aid throughout the South,” Mr. Oshidari said. “It has created long-term benefits for the South Sudan economy. Thanks to the WFP road repair project people have much better access to markets and health care. For many, the cost of public transport has been cut in half, and people are able to reunite with loved ones.”
The two-decade long war left more than 2 million people dead, 4 million displaced and a further 600,000 living as refugees in neighbouring countries.
“The South still faces tough challenges,” Mr. Oshidari said. “WFP will continue to work together with the people of the region to help consolidate peace, through programmes aimed at the long-term recovery of South Sudan.”
WFP’s emergency operational budget for all Sudan in 2006 stood at $746 million. By the end of the year, it was almost 90 per cent funded, reflecting the strong commitment that donors have shown to the agency’s work in Sudan.