WFP's innovative rebuilding projects in southern Sudan – which are helping to restore food independence for people in the region – have received a generous US$55 million pledge
Where we have been able to rebuild roads, food costs have gone down 50 per cent and the cost of transportation has gone down as much as 60 per cent
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran
from the Government of southern Sudan (GoSS).
In a meeting between WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran and southern Sudan's Minister of Roads and Transport, HE Rebecca Garang Nyandeng, the minister announced that the GoSS will donate US$41 million to WFP's Road Building and Demining Programme plus an additional US$14 million towards refurbishing several airstrips in southern Sudan.
Moving beyond the emergency
"Now that peace has been restored to the south, WFP is moving from emergency programming to helping people restore their independence and livelihoods. Rebuilding roads destroyed during the war is critical to that effort," Ms Sheeran told the transport minister during their meeting in Juba on Friday.
"Where we have been able to rebuild roads, food costs have gone down 50 per cent and the cost of transportation has gone down as much as 60 per cent," she said.
This is the second major humanitarian donation made to WFP by the southern Sudan government.
Facilitating food delivery
Last year, the GoSS donated US$30 million to the roads project, which has rebuilt nearly 2,000 kilometres of roads and removed more than 200,000 unexploded ordnance in the region since 2004.
A further 1,000 km of roads are scheduled to be rebuilt in 2007. The total cost of the roads project is US$183 million.
The roads project was launched to make it easier to deliver food assistance in southern Sudan after the end of the 21-year North-South civil war, but the long-term benefits to the region's economy are its lasting contribution to food security, Ms Sheeran said.
Returning after the war
Once complete, it will be possible to travel by road from the southern borders of Sudan to Khartoum and onto Egypt for the first time in a generation.
Madame Garang Nyandeng told the WFP Executive Director that her ministry is keen to open up many of the 7,500 kilometres of feeder roads in the region, to assist people to return to their homes and rebuild their lives after the war.
She also outlined plans to donate US$14 million to WFP to refurbish several airstrips in the south to make them accessible year-round.
WFP's Humanitarian Air Service, which operates 26 fixed wing aircraft in Sudan, has already helped refurbish airports and airstrips throughout the country.
During her one-day visit to Juba, Ms Sheeran also met with southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
She reiterated WFP's commitment to helping build the peace with programmes such as Food for Work, which will increase by 25 per cent this year, and School Feeding, which will triple to 450,000 students in the South.
WFP will also provide three-month rations to an estimated 430,000 returnees.
Ms Sheeran was in Sudan on a three-day visit, as part of her first field trip as the new director of the world's largest humanitarian agency.
While in Sudan, she held meetings with government officials and visited a camp for internally displaced people in Kutum, North Darfur.
On Saturday, Ms Sheeran continued her trip in Chad, where she was scheduled to meet with government officials regarding humanitarian challenges on the Chad-Sudan border.