Hunger in the news

15 June 2009

Armed men have attacked UN barges carrying food aid in South Sudan, with unconfirmed reports of casualties, UN officials have said. (..) "We don't have information on how many people were killed or injured. But everyone we have talked to has described it as an attack," Michelle Iseminger of the UN's World Food Programme said.

14 June 2009

About 40 southern Sudanese soldiers and civilians were killed when tribal fighters ambushed boats carrying food aid, the latest in a string of ethnic attacks threatening a fragile peace deal, officials said Sunday. (..) “There are people who are desperately in need of food,” said Michelle Iseminger, the World Food Program’s director in southern Sudan. “As always, it is the elderly, the women and the children who are most in need.”

11 June 2009

Major Johnson Guch of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) sits outside a grass hut at the edge of Nasir, a missionary post in Nuerland that in time became a dismal town (..) The World Food Programme says the malnutrition rate in South Sudan is 16%, which signals a permanent humanitarian emergency. Over the past four years, despite billions of dollars in revenues, the GOSS has failed to build a single paved road outside Juba, the capital.

11 June 2009

After expelling aid organizations in March, the government of Sudan is letting some back in the country, the United Nations humanitarian chief said Thursday. (..) The World Food Programme said the hunger gap season runs from May to October, during harvest time. During the season, groups distribute food to more than 3 million people, the organization said.

1 June 2009

The Sudanese government said it has covered successfully the gaps left by the forced departure of the international aid workers. US officials who visited the region say Sudan agreed to receive other international NGOs, but there are no visible changes on the ground. The UN World Food Programme intensified the direct distribution to the IDPs. UNICEF and WHO also are doing there best to prevent the deterioration of the health situation. The IDPs spokesperson said the security situation remains volatile and government militias continue to be located beside the displaced camps and in the villages deserted by the IDPs following the 2003-2004 attacks. He also dismissed government claims about the amelioration of the security situation and the voluntary return of the IDPs.

24 May 2009

Armed raiders using mortars and heavy guns seized a Sudanese army base near the Chad border in Darfur on Sunday, the second to have fallen in just over a week, international peacekeepers said. (..) The U.N.'s World Food Programme said a contract driver was shot dead by suspected robbers in Al Deain in South Darfur on Tuesday.

12 May 2009

The rainy season, Sudan's traditional "hunger season," is about to start, just nine weeks after the largest humanitarian relief operation in the world was crippled by expulsions of 13 leading international aid agencies. (..) The World Food Program (WPF) has just finished distributing emergency two-month food rations to nearly two million displaced people in refugee camps, while UN relief organizers are struggling to redeploy local health workers who worked for the expelled agencies. (..) The WFP said its work "is an ad hoc, rapid response with limited accountability and is therefore unsustainable." It does not have the staff and infrastructure to replace the expelled aid agencies.

8 May 2009

Sudan's government says it will invite new aid groups to work in Darfur and allow those still operating there to expand their activities.
The UN's head of humanitarian affairs welcomed the move.

29 April 2009

The humanitarian situation in Akobo County is very desperate and appalling. There are 25, 000 persons displaced from the 12 villages of Nyandit Payam and some from Wanding after the County authorities handed over Wanding area to the neighbouring County of Nasir which is part of upper Nile state. The displaced have no shelter, limited food intervention from WFP and still feeling unsafe. Their villages and grain stores have been torched to ashes. Some families have been totally wiped out. Many children have been left without families and traumatized.

24 April 2009

Extreme weather conditions push people to the edge here. When it rains, all plains get flooded, roads get washed away and crops die. And when the sun is out, the heat is blistering and all crops dry up. Year in, year out, people don’t have food and depend on the rare food handouts, which local resident James Aswol is very sure do not reach their intended beneficiaries. James is a 29-year-old catechist but he looks 40. He is tall dark and skinny with traditional scars running across his forehead, like most Nuer man. He offered me his insights into south central Sudan’s problems. We visited the booming Leer village market together. “You see, this is where all relief food ends,” he said pointing at a container labelled "WFP cooking oil". “There are many traders here from Darfur who buy and take it away,” he said. "The food situation is very serious. Most people cannot afford two meals a day. They have to eat once and that is it."