On 26 March, the Sudanese government announced the opening of a new corridor for humanitarian assistance from central Sudan to northern South Sudan.
The new northern corridor, from the North Kordofan capital of El Obeid to Bentiu, capital of Northern Liech (former Unity State), will ensure that food assistance rapidly reaches the people in need before the onset of the rainy season, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reports in its latest weekly bulletin.
The aid will be delivered by the World Food Programme (WFP). The organisation will be moving an initial delivery of 11,000 metric tons (MT) of sorghum -including 1,000 MT donated by the Government of Sudan- in seven convoys of 30 to 40 trucks, which is enough to feed 300,000 people for three months.
The convoys will take up to one week to complete the 500km journey. The first convoy will transport 1,200 MT of sorghum in 27 trucks by early April.
The humanitarian corridor will not only allow for the timely delivery of food aid, but will also help reduce reliance on air operations, which cost six to seven times as much as moving food by river and road.
Meanwhile, WFP continues to use the existing corridor in Kosti, White Nile State, to reach people in need in Renk, South Sudan. Since November 2014, WFP has delivered 57,900 MT to over 200,000 people in Renk, of which 3,490 MT was delivered in 2017. At least 7.5 million people across South Sudan -almost two thirds of the population- need humanitarian assistance. Sudan is currently hosting over 350,000 South Sudanese refugees, who have arrived since the conflict erupted in December 2013.
WFP, US support food insecure people in Sudan and South Sudan
On 20 March, WFP said in a statement that two US ships docked in Port Sudan. More than 47,880 MT of sorghum was unloaded, over 20,000 MT of which will be transported through Sudan into South Sudan.
In March and April, more ships will arrive from the US with an additional 47,500 MT of sorghum, 5,000 MT of lentils and 1,700 MT of vegetable oil, destined to provide assistance to South Sudanese refugees and displaced people in Sudan.
In 2017, WFP plans to assist more than 4.4 million vulnerable people in Sudan -displaced, refugees, climate-affected populations, and host communities- through a range of activities, including emergency food aid, cash-based transfers, nutritional support, and resilience-building activities to help communities become independent.