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WFP increases aid to Sudan as food shortages intensify

  • At the height of the annual ‘hunger gap’ and rainy season, WFP is particularly concerned about the chronically impoverished regions of Bahr El Ghazal in the South, and the Kordofans in central Sudan and Red Sea State and Kassala in the East.
  • Inter-agency rapid needs assessment missions earlier this year confirmed that food security was poor in many parts of southern, central and eastern Sudan. Nutrition survey results are consistently reported above the threshold indicating an emergency.


  • WFP is increasing its assistance, raising tonnages of food aid for hard-hit areas across the central belt of South Sudan and in the East to give food assistance to an additional 267,000 people from June to September. The East and Bahr El Ghazal account for 70 percent of the increased needs in Sudan.
  • These revisions are based on the results of rapid needs assessments in the south and transitional areas, a livelihood vulnerability and nutritional assessment in the east, increasing reports of malnutrition, and observations on the ground.

    A second round of assessments of food security is due to begin next week in Bahr El Ghazal and Unity State, ahead of rolling assessments in East, North and West Kordofan and White Nile.


  • WFP’s response is severely hampered by critical funding shortages, the late arrival of donor funds and severe shortages of Jet-A1 fuel, as well as limitations on road deliveries and airlifts imposed by the rainy season. These problems sabotaged WFP’s efforts to deliver by air and pre-position food aid before rains cut road access in much of the south.
  • Until late May, WFP’s emergency operation for the South, East and Transitional areas of Sudan had only 26 percent of the funds it needed. Even now, more than half way through the year, WFP has 55 percent of the US$302 million needed to feed 3.2 million people in 2005, leaving a shortfall of US$137 million, or 45 percent.

    The operation has borrowed funds and food from within WFP to keep supplies flowing and contributions are urgently needed to repay commitments and buy new foodstocks.


  • Jet-A1 shortages dealt a blow to WFP’s efforts to deliver urgently needed food aid to areas cut off by the rains, reducing air delivery capacity in half in July. The problem is expected to persist through August. Khartoum’s refinery is closed for maintenance, forcing suppliers to truck fuel from Port Sudan to Khartoum and El Obeid.
  • WFP air operations have been hit by limited facilities for storing large quantities of jet fuel at logistics air hubs in Khartoum and El Obeid, slower deliveries of fuel and a shortage of fuel tankers in Sudan. WFP is the largest single consumer of jet fuel in Sudan, using 320 metric tons of fuel a day at its main base in El Obeid.


  • WFP is pursuing longer-term measures to reduce its reliance on air drops to deliver food. In particular, a special operation to de-mine and rehabilitate South Sudan’s roads is in progress, as well as another initiative to boost deliveries by barge along the Nile.
  • WFP has repaired almost 600 kilometres of roads in difficult but key areas. A barge operation in Upper Nile State in June led by WFP delivered food and non-food items to people in need along the Tonga-Zeraf and Kodok corridors, and the Sobat River corridor. However, problems with securing enough barges hampered these measures.


  • Another factor is a shortage of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other partners on the ground and the limited logistical capacity of NGOs to support WFP deliveries to communities in hard-hit areas, such as Bahr El Ghazal, Unity State and Jonglei. In Northern Bahr El Ghazal, for example, WFP has few cooperating partners, and must carry out food distributions on the ground itself.
  • WFP is prioritising urgent deliveries of food by air to malnutrition hot spots. Places identified for July and August deliveries include northern Bahr El Ghazal: (Jaac, Leithnom, Malek Alel, Aweng, Ajiep, Aroyo, Gori, Awada, Akuem, Pandit Ajak and Baraud); the Lakes region (Marial Lou, Warrap, Citcok. Loangmotot, Paliang and Pabour); and Upper Nile (Waat, Thornyor, Keriel, Pieri Tangyang and Padeah).


  • In Bahr El Ghazal in June, WFP distributed 3,822 tons of food to 274,000 vulnerable people. In all of 2005, it plans to distribute 68,000 tons of food aid to the whole region. Overall in June, WFP’s emergency operation for the south, east and transitional areas of Sudan provided 18,356 tons of food to 1.3 million people.
  • In Bahr El Ghazal and other parts of the south, returnees are putting more pressure on scarce resources, compounding the effects of a poor harvest last year and rising prices for basic staples.

    Host communities share the little they have, but malnutrition rates are rising to alarming levels in some areas. Water-borne diseases and diarrhoea are more prevalent in the rainy season, pushing malnutrition rates even higher.


  • A nutrition survey in June by Medecins Sans Frontieres in and around Akuem in northern Bahr El Ghazal found global acute malnutrition rates of 26.3 percent in children under the age of five, and severe acute malnutrition of 4 percent. WFP is increasing its contribution to MSF’s therapeutic feeding for malnourished children in Akeum.
  • A full WFP ration including cereals, pulses, salt, sugar and vegetable oil will be provided every two weeks to mothers and other family members accompanying children receiving “wet” therapeutic food. In the fourth delivery this year, WFP air dropped food for Akuem in August – enough for 18,300 residents and returnees.


  • In April, a survey by Action contre la Faim (ACF) and GOAL in Twic in Bahr El Ghazal and Abyei found global acute malnutrition of 30.7 percent among children under five and severe acute malnutrition of 4.9 percent. Contributing factors included poor hygiene, a lack of clean drinking water and sanitation, food shortages and low immunization coverage and few health services.
  • In Upper Nile State, preliminary results of a nutrition survey in June by ACF-USA in Athoc in South Bor County in Upper Nile showed global acute malnutrition among children under five was 39.3 percent, while severe acute malnutrition was 5.9 percent.
  • Global acute malnutrition of 15 percent or above is considered an emergency by WFP.

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