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Statement By WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin On Air Drops For Refugees In South Sudan

JUBA - Today I am pleased to announce that the United Nations World Food Programme has begun air drops of urgently needed food to refugees in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State.  I have been in South Sudan for the last two days meeting mothers and children whom we assist in the world’s newest nation.

This afternoon, 32 metric tons of wheat - enough to feed more than 2,100 people for a month - was flown from Gambella in Ethiopia and dropped for the refugee settlements in Maban County. This is the first in a series of airdrops that aims to replenish rapidly diminishing food stocks for more than 100,000 people who have fled the fighting north of the border.

Today I spoke with South Sudanese women whose first concern was the health of their babies, and building a brighter future for themselves and their families.

WFP’s goal is not just to meet the immediate needs of those we serve, but to work to ensure that these mothers can, in time, feed their own children. Building the resilience of the people is foremost in our minds as we work in partnership with the South Sudanese Government.

We are working together in the quest not only to achieve a food secure nation, but also to help realise their agricultural potential to become the breadbasket of Africa.