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Khartoum, Juba keep humanitarian aid corridor open

July 18 - 2017 KHARTOUM / EL MERAM
World Food Program (WFP) workers unload humanitarian aid parcels that will be distributed to South Sudanese refugees, on May 20, 2017, at El Obeid airport in Sudan's North Kordofan (AFP)
World Food Program (WFP) workers unload humanitarian aid parcels that will be distributed to South Sudanese refugees, on May 20, 2017, at El Obeid airport in Sudan's North Kordofan (AFP)

The Sudanese and South Sudanese governments agreed to extend the period of the humanitarian corridors for delivering aid to the citizens of South Sudan on Monday.

The delivery of 90,000 metric tons of humanitarian aid are planned to continue. The Sudanese government was represented by the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) and signed the memorandum of understanding with its South Sudanese counterpart in Khartoum.

Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam announced at the press conference afterwards that three new tracks will be added to the former crossing in Blue Nile to South Sudan. They are aimed at reducing the flow of refugees to Sudan, pushing national efforts, and addressing the food shortage in South Sudan.

On 26 March, the Sudanese government announced the opening of a third humanitarian corridor for humanitarian assistance from El Obeid in central Sudan to Bentiu in South Sudan. The aid was delivered by the World Food Programme (WFP) from the North Kordofan capital to Bentiu in the former Unity State. Approximately 100,000 people have endured a famine here.

Weeks later Khartoum allowed an additional track for WFP to carry humanitarian aid from El Obeid to Aweil, a city in Bahr el Ghazal state in South Sudan. The aid included 7,000 metric tons of sorghum to support the 540,000 people in need of food assistance there.

WFP continued to use the existing corridor in Kosti in White Nile State, to reach South Sudanese in need in Renk. The humanitarian corridors allowed for the timely delivery of food aid and also helped reducing the reliance on air operations.

Refugees in South Kordofan

People in El Meram in West Kordofan endured heavy rainfall in the past days, which has “isolated” the area by making the unpaved roads inaccessible. Refugees from South Sudan have poured into West Kordofan to shelter from armed conflict and hunger in their country.

“The people are living in the worst conditions possible because of this isolation,” an activist reported to Radio Dabanga from the area that borders South Sudan. “Commodity prices have run-up because the roads for transport that link it to the rest of Sudan, are inaccessible. Meanwhile living conditions have deteriorated, paired with the large influx of refugees.”

Almost 137,000 refugees arrived from South Sudan in Sudan so far this year, which is more than the total number of arrivals in 2016, the UNHCR reported last May. During the first half of May, almost 20,000 refugees sought assistance in Sudan as a result of ongoing hostilities in Kodok in Upper Nile state. This included 5,261 refugees in South Kordofan.


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