Airdrops In South Sudan Reach Families Cut Off From Assistance

A team member of WFP's partner organization, Samaritan's Purse, prepares for an airdrop of WFP food over South Sudan to refugees in an inaccessible part of the country. Copyright: Samaritan's Purse

Airdrops are the iconic image of humanitarian assistance – food dropping from the sky to help hungry people cut off from aid. However, it’s not a long-term solution and it happens more rarely than most people realize. Delivering food by road is more cost-effective. But, sometimes airdrops are necessary, as they were recently in a part of South Sudan cut off during the rainy season.

JUBA--In newly independent South Sudan, WFP’s partner, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Samaritan’s Purse recently organized a rapid response to deliver urgently needed food to more than 4,000 refugees in the village of Yida in upper Unity State, who were cut off from help after roads became impassable due to the rainy season. 

In this video, a DC-3 aircraft chartered by Samaritan’s Purse makes one in a series of air drops. This far, a total of 67 metric tons of food supplied by WFP has been air dropped to Yida – enough to feed more than 4,000 people for one month. 

Airdrops of food are not a long-term solution, but thanks to the close cooperation between Samaritan’s Purse and WFP’s logistics team, this series of drops in South Sudan provided immediate assistance to vulnerable people who had no other way to receive help. 

WFP works with about 3,000 NGOs and community based organizations worldwide, which help to distribute the food that WFP delivers to about 75 countries.