South Sudan: Life-Saving Air Drops Bring Food to Starving Refugees

Executive Director Ertharin Cousin says WFP has started urgently needed food to refugees in South Sudan (World Food Programme photo)

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started life-saving air drops of food for refugees in South Sudan. Ertharin Cousin, the WFP director, said the air drops began today in Maban County of South Sudan‘s Upper Nile State.

Enough food was supplied to feed over 2,000 refugees for a month. More supplies are on the way. Cousin said today, “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.”

Fighting in Blue Nile State and South Kordofan of Sudan has forced civilians to flee into South Sudan. The refugees are severely malnourished going for days without supplies after being driven from their homes by the violence. These are victims of the ongoing conflict between South Sudan and Sudan as both sides cannot win the peace despite numerous diplomatic efforts.

The air drops of food became necessary because of poor roads in South Sudan and the dramatic increase in the numbers of refugees. WFP is trying to feed millions of people throughout South Sudan, Sudan and Darfur. Drought and poverty alone are incredible challenges for civilians to overcome. The conflict between South Sudan and Sudan has further increased the numbers of hungry and malnourished.

Once Sudan and South Sudan end the conflict there is hope of rebuilding an area that holds much promise in the way of agriculture. Cousin adds, “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.”

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