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WFP airlifts emergency food to Sudan for thousands of malnourished children

Rome - With a generous donation from its first and largest corporate partner - the global mail, express and logistics company TPG N.V. - the United Nations World Food Programme will transport high-energy biscuits to Sudan this weekend to help feed thousands of children caught up in the conflict-ridden Darfur region.

The biscuits will feed more than 13,000 malnourished children for one month in areas with alarming levels of malnutrition.

In the last few weeks, increased access to displaced populations in Darfur has revealed a grim reality. Recent nutrition surveys among the displaced population have indicated alarming levels of malnutrition, particularly among children under the age of five. When malnutrition levels reach 15 percent, a nutritional emergency is declared; current surveys show rates of between 21 and 33 percent.

"For many children, these biscuits could well mean the difference between life and death," said Ramiro Lopes de Silva, WFP's Country Director in Sudan. "These are crucial supplies. We are racing against time and circumstances to reach at least one million people in desperate need of help."

TPG's TNT Airways has made available one of its largest aircraft - an Airbus 300 - to fly from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, Italy, to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, carrying 33.6 metric tons high energy, vitamin and mineral fortified biscuits. The airlift is scheduled for Saturday, 12 June. The biscuits are a donation by the Danish Government to the UNHRD's strategic stocks.

"WFP greatly appreciates TPG's assistance in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Western Sudan," said "With malnutrition setting in amongst the displaced population, and the rainy season upon us, we must get more emergency food into the region now if we are to stave off starvation, especially among the very young," said da Silva.

With the rainy season expected to peak in July, WFP is racing to pre-position food stocks in key areas. High energy biscuits are easy to distribute and require no cooking preparation.

WFP currently has access to 94 of 124 camps in Darfur, and plans to assist over one million people each month until October, when the agency will increase its food assistance to reach a total of two million people until December.

During May, WFP distributed food rations to more than half a million people in Darfur, reaching nearly two-thirds of the beneficiary target. Limited access and insecurity have been major obstacles to providing humanitarian assistance to those displaced by the on-going conflict between the Sudanese Government and rebel forces over the last 15 months.

To date, WFP has received only US$59.7 million towards its US$200 million appeal for two million displaced Sudanese people. Contributions so far are from: the United States (US$46 million); EC-EuropeAid (US$4.7 million); UK (US$4 million); Canada (US$1.5 million); Australia (US$1.4 million); Germany (US$1.2 million); New Zealand (US$ 637,000) and Luxembourg (US$118,000).

This is the second airlift provided by TPG/TNT Airways to the region. In November 2003, TNT Airways transported WFP humanitarian supplies destined for Eastern Chad where thousands of Sudanese refugees have sought refuge. The Netherlands-based company has also provided transport for humanitarian goods destined for Iran, Liberia and Haiti. By transporting the goods over the weekend when demands for commercial activities are at their lowest, TPG is able to assist WFP's emergency response activities in a very cost effective and flexible manner.

In December 2002, Mail, Express and Logistics company TPG N.V. committed itself to partnering with WFP in its fight against world hunger for at least five years. As the biggest corporate sponsor of WFP, the world's largest humanitarian aid agency, TPG is making available its highly qualified staff, skills, systems and assets. With similar expertise in both transportation and logistics, WFP and TPG share the common values of speed, reliability and efficiency, as well as a ‘results-based' culture.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future.

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TPG N.V., with its two brands TNT and Royal TPG Post, is a global provider of mail, express and logistics services. The group employs over 162,000 people in 64 countries and serves over 200 countries. For 2003 the company reported sales of € 11.9 billion. TPG N.V. is publicly listed on the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, New York, London and Frankfurt. TPG is also the largest corporate sponsor of WFP.

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