UN food aid agency helps thousands of Sudanese fleeing fighting

Thousands of people displaced by conflict in Kordofan State have sought refuge in an area secured by UNMIS.

16 June 2011 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today said it is assisting thousands of people fleeing from fighting Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state, but the conflict continues to hinder the agency’s efforts to reach more people uprooted by the violence.

The agency said it has been able to supply between seven and 15-days of rations to about 26,500 persons displaced since clashes began earlier this month between the northern army known as the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of Southern Sudan.

Heavy bombardment by Sudanese warplanes has been reported during the past week in areas surrounding the Southern Kordofan capital of Kadugli and other towns. The UN estimates that the total number of displaced persons exceeds 53,000.

The agency said that “ongoing insecurity” had prevented its workers from reaching its warehouse in Kadugli, which is stocked with 620 tons of food.

WFP has relocated 34 of its 39 staff serving in Southern Kordofan due to the deteriorating security situation in Kadugli and elsewhere in the state, the agency said.

Before the conflict began, WFP was providing food assistance to about 400,000 people in Southern Kordofan through a mix of initiatives including school feeding, food for training, food for work and food for recovery. With the ongoing conflict, WFP is focusing mainly on those affected by violence and in need of emergency food assistance.

Yesterday Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all parties to the conflict “to immediately cease all hostilities.”

Kouider Zerrouk, a spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS), said: “We reiterate our call on the SAF, SPLA and other armed groups involved in this conflict to immediately allow access to humanitarian agencies, stop indiscriminate military attacks against civilians and protect them in accordance with international law.”

Meanwhile, UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg briefed the Security Council this afternoon on the latest humanitarian developments in Southern Kordofan.

She said shortages of water and shelter were among the biggest concerns to aid agencies, which have been able to distribute food and conduct medical screenings among many of the displaced.

Ms. Bragg urged that aid workers be allowed to reach people in need and she urged the parties to refrain from targeting civilians and to ensure the safe and unhindered passage of humanitarian personnel.

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Ban urges immediate end to hostilities in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state

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