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WFP mourns loss of Sudan's first vice president John Garang

KHARTOUM - The United Nations World Food Programme said today it deeply regretted the death of the Republic of the Sudan's First Vice President John Garang de Mabior, killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday as he returned to southern Sudan from Uganda.

"WFP joins with the UN family in extending its sincere condolences to the Government of Sudan, to the family of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, to the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, and to the people of the Sudan," said WFP Executive Director James Morris.

"Dr. Garang's role in securing the peace agreement in Sudan was vital, and his death is a tragic loss for all of the country. WFP remains deeply committed to assisting the people of Sudan, and will of course continue with its humanitarian work throughout the country," he added.

"WFP hails Dr. Garang's enormous contribution to setting Sudan on the road to peace. WFP stands ready to assist the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement leadership as they work to continue with the peace process, and move forward in the wake of this tragedy," Morris said.

"Dr. Garang's support for WFP's work, especially in the south of Sudan, was invaluable. He well understood the importance of humanitarian assistance and the urgency with which food assistance must be delivered during a crisis. He also put a high priority on work to rebuild southern Sudan's fragmented roads infrastructure, which WFP is addressing with a special operation. May his soul rest in peace."

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average of 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 56 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP -- We Feed People.

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.

Visit our website: www.wfp.org

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Penny Ferguson
WFP/Khartoum
Mob. +249 91 217 4769

Simon Crittle
WFP/Rumbek
Mob. + 8821621115219
Off. + 8821621115516, Ext 4512
Satphone. +88 216 2111 5219

Peter Smerdon
WFP/Nairobi
Tel. +254 20 622 179
Mob. +254 733 528 911

Trevor Rowe
WFP/NY
Tel. +1-212-9635196
Mob. +1-646-8241112
rowe@un.org

Gregory Barrow
WFP/London
Tel. +44-20-72409001
Mob. +44-7968-008474