KHARTOUM – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today marks 50 years of providing crucial food assistance to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in Sudan.
“We are grateful to all those who have supported us in our work to assist the needy communities across Sudan over the past five decades,” said WFP Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Amir Abdulla. “We also remain committed to supporting all those who continue to need our assistance.”
Abdulla was speaking during his current visit to Sudan to meet government officials, members of the UN Country Team, donors and representatives of the business sector.
WFP first began working in Sudan’s Wadi Halfa in 1963, where 50,000 Nubians had to be re-settled away from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, caused by the construction of the Aswan Dam in neighbouring Egypt. For four years, WFP provided the Nubians with food assistance while they settled into their new homes and cultivated their land. The food assistance they received included wheat from the U.S., dried skimmed and whole milk from Austria and New Zealand, dried and canned fruits from Australia and vegetable oil from Germany.
Since the 1960s, WFP’s activities have expanded to cover the entire country, making Sudan one of organisation’s largest and most complex operations, providing food assistance to 3.9 million people affected by conflict, displacement, natural disasters and chronic under-nourishment.
WFP has been providing food to school children, preventing and treating malnutrition among young children, pregnant and nursing mothers and restoring the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and communities through programmes such as food for work and food for assets.
Abdulla also emphasised that as WFP continues to provide emergency food rations to people affected by the on-going conflict in parts of Blue Nile and South Kordofan states and in Darfur, the organisation has also introduced initiatives to promote long-term food security and build resilience among communities. These include a cash vouchers programme that benefits more than half a million people throughout Sudan, Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy (SAFE) and Farmers to Market that help women and farmers rebuild their livelihoods.
However, conflict and insecurity remain a challenge for WFP’s operations in Darfur where the organization is currently assisting 2.9 million conflict-affected people.
“We are deeply concerned about the continuing conflict in Darfur that hampers our ability to reach all those in need,” Abdulla said. “We will carry on supporting efforts to build peace in Darfur and in other parts of Sudan, because it is only by achieving peace that food security can be attained across the country.”
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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 more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Amor Almagro, WFP/Khartoum , Tel. +249 912174853
Abdulaziz Abdulmomin, WFP/Khartoum, Tel. +249 912167055