KHARTOUM – New violence in Sudan’s western region of Darfur has prompted more than 250,000 people to flee their villages and abandon their livelihoods since the start of the year, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today.
The decade-long conflict has escalated recently, due to inter-tribal conflicts over agricultural land and resources, creating the largest wave of population displacement that the region has seen in recent years and straining WFP’s ability to feed vulnerable families.
“We are deeply concerned with the developing situation which threatens fragile food security in this region,” said WFP Sudan Country Director Adnan Khan. “This is the season when people should be planting and working on farms but instead they are fleeing their villages, a significant number of them have even fled to the refugee camps in neighbouring Chad.”
The nature of the conflict has evolved and is becoming more complex, involving more groups in almost all areas of Darfur. In addition to the 250,000 people who are internally displaced within Sudan, according to UNHCR about 30,000 Sudanese are reported to have crossed over into neighbouring Chad in the past few months. So far about 16,000 have settled and are assisted in the new refugee camp of Abgadam in the Tissi area, adding to the 300,000 Darfur refugees who have been in Chad for the past few years.
In other parts of the country, in the conflict-affected states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan bordering the Republic of South Sudan, more than 100,000 people were also displaced due to a resurgence of violence. WFP is responding to provide food assistance in the areas to which it has access.
In Sudan, the majority of WFP’s operation takes place in Darfur, where the UN food agency had planned to feed 2.7 million people across Darfur at the beginning of the year, including 1.4 million living in camps. With the recent displacements, the total number of people receiving assistance in Darfur is expect to climb above 2.9 million people.
“This conflict has been going on for a decade now and the escalation that we’ve seen during the first half of the year has not only created greater needs, but has also hindered our ability to reach all those in need, due to insecurity. If it continues, it could very well derail our plans to promote long-term food security and build resilience among communities,” said Khan.
WFP has so far raised only US$180 million out of its operational budget of US$397 million to be able to feed 3.9 million conflict-affected people in Sudan. Despite a good harvest in 2012, food security remains fragile and is threatened by a combination of conflict, insecurity and high food prices.
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Today, WFP is issuing a Video News Release, filmed a few days ago in Darfur. For WFP’s video unit, please contact Marco Frattini, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 2275 Mob. +39 347 0426505 and on firstname.lastname@example.org
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
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For WFP’s video unit, please contact Marco Frattini, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 2275 Mob. +39 347 0426505 and on firstname.lastname@example.org