UN WFP to ramp up food aid for 4.9 million in Sudan

A humanitarian food distribution point at El Sheimaa Boarding School in El Gezira (Photo WFP/Lumia Elhag)


Sudan’s deepening humanitarian crisis as a result of the ongoing clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) is being met head on by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), who say they aim to assist 4.9 million vulnerable people in Sudan.

According to a statement by the organisation yesterday, they are “rapidly scaling up” their emergency operations across the states of White Nile, Red Sea, El Gedaref, Kassala, El Gezira, as well as both North and East Darfur. They added that they hope to resume aid activity in Blue Nile state and Central Darfur “as soon as the security situation allows”.

The WFP’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa, Michael Dunford, said that the UN body’s work is “delivering life-saving assistance” for the millions impacted by the devastating SAF-RSF conflict. He adds that the crisis has upended the lives and livelihoods of so many in Sudan, stating it has forced “people to flee their homes with nothing but the clothes they are wearing”.

“It is critical that humanitarians have the access, resources, and assurances of safety to effectively reach and support those who are depending on us for survival”, Dunford said.

The WFP state that since the first emergency distributions in Sudan, they have reached at least “300,000 people with over 6,500 metric tons of food”. The UN organisation said they have restarted food distribution in North Darfur, where over 130,000 people have been internally displaced across region’s Zamzam, Dar El Salam, and Abu Shouk camps.

Radio Dabanga reported last week that North Darfur’s capital of El Fasher has been witnessing intense fighting between the warring factions. The chaos is also compounded with reports of “staggering food prices” and a “disturbing increase in crime, looting, and systematic killing”.

In El Gezira, which neighbours the highly contested capital city of Khartoum, the WFP hope to provide 23,000 people with food assistance. El Gezira is the first port of call for many newly displaced families fleeing Khartoum and “continue to arrive each day”, according to the WFP.

Near the Sudan-Egypt border of Wadi Halfa in Northern State, the WFP plan to set up operations in order to provide emergency food assistance for the 8,000 people making the lengthy cross-country journey to safety.

The WFP are also working as part of an inter-UN agency coordination effort (United Nations Population Fund, United Nations Children Fund, and the World Health Organisation) to alleviate the humanitarian needs in Port Sudan.

According to them, a “vessel carrying over 30,000 metric tonnes of food assistance” will dock in the port today. Two WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) cargo planes carrying critical aid supplies have already landed in the region so far since May 9.

The inter-UN agencies have established a number of commercial air connections bringing aid to Port Sudan from Addis Ababa, Dubai, and Nairobi.

However, the WFP operations requires at least $730 million to continue their operations for the remainder of 2023, with a further $110 million needed for UNHAS to reach those in desperate need.