WFP Thanks Ethiopian Authorities For Successful Airdrop Operation To South Sudan

Published on 20 September 2012

ADDIS ABABA - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Ethiopia has expressed its gratitude to the Ethiopian authorities in facilitating airdrops of badly needed food to refugee camps in South Sudan.

More than 1,000 metric tons of grain was airdropped in South Sudan’s Maban County from planes taking off from Gambella between mid-August and September 17. This allowed WFP to continue vital food distributions to the refugees who have fled fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile State and sought refuge in South Sudan.

“This airdrop operation was critical to bring food as fast as possible for more than 100,000 refugees,” said Abdou Dieng, WFP Country Director in Ethiopia. “WFP’s operation in Ethiopia not only provides food assistance inside the country, it also provides important logistical support for WFP’s work in Somalia and South Sudan.”

In addition to the airdrop operations, WFP has also delivered food through Ethiopia to South Sudan by barge. In August and September about 1,600 metric tons of wheat was transported on the Akobo river to Melut in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State. Deliveries of food by road will resume at the end of the rainy season in January.

In South Sudan WFP has been urgently moving food to the Upper Nile State refugee camps on river barges, trucks and helicopters. The sudden influx of 35,000 refugees into Maban County brought a sharp increase in food needs just as the rainy season set in, making movement of food into the area far more challenging and creating the need for airdrops.

Elsewhere in South Sudan, WFP is continuing to airdrop food assistance for the Yida refugee camp in Unity State, where an influx of refugees earlier this year more than doubled the population in a matter of weeks.  Yida is completely cut off by road during the rainy season, so the camp’s food stocks can only be replenished by air.  Food for the Yida airdrops is being loaded in Juba.
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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Stephanie Savariaud, WFP/Addis Ababa, Tel. +251 911201976
George Fominyen WFP/Juba, Tel. +211 922465247
Challiss McDonough, WFP/Nairobi, Tel + 254 707 722 104