The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it is appealing to the Sudanese Government for access to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states so that it can provide assistance to thousands of people affected by fighting.
Clashes between the Sudanese armed forces and rebels over the past few months in both states displaced tens of thousands of people. Earlier this month, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had reported that relief agencies were unable to reach those in need due to movement restrictions imposed by the Government.
WFP’s spokesperson in Geneva, Christiane Berthiaume, said the agency wanted to gain access to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile so that it can distribute food aid and control food distributions amid growing concern about the plight of the displaced.
The agency has managed to deliver some food assistance, “but thousands of people were yet to be reached and food stocks needed replenishment,” she told a news conference.
The WFP warehouses in Blue Nile State were empty and at least 100,000 people needed food assistance, the last food distribution having been in June, Ms. Berthiaume noted.
Several thousand people affected by the fighting have also fled to Ethiopia and other places. WFP is distributing five-day food rations at reception centres to enable people to reach the Sherkole camp in Ethiopia, where they received enough food for 15 days. It has so far dispatched 7,000 tons of food to Sherkole camp, enough to feed 20,000 people for one month.
Ms. Berthiaume said that WFP has been providing food assistance to 135,000 conflict victims in Southern Kordofan. However, more than 200,000 people are estimated to need assistance.