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WFP launches emergency relief effort to aid Sudan flood victims


July 12, 2007 (KHARTOUM) – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) today launched an emergency relief effort to deliver food and supplies to thousands of people driven from their homes by floods that have inundated dozens of communities across central Sudan.

"WFP has joined forces with other UN agencies and the Sudanese government to get emergency supplies, including food and non-food items, moving quickly to the victims of the flooding," said Kenro Oshidari, WFP Sudan Representative.

As an immediate first step, the agency plans to distribute food to 20,000 people in five locations near the city of Kassala, close to the Eritrean border, where the Gash River has burst its banks. WFP has 3,000 metric tons of food stockpiled in Kassala, enough to feed the flood victims for three weeks.

Rations are currently being handed out along a tarmac road on higher ground where people displaced by the flood waters have taken refuge.The area around the town of Aroma has been particularly hard it, with surrounding villages completely submerged.

Flooding has also struck the central Sudanese cities of Kosti, El Obeid and Damazine, as well as Tokar on the Red Sea coast. In the coming days, WFP will join other UN agencies in assessment missions to determine the full extent of the damage and the level of assistance that may be required. Helicopters are being provided by the UN Mission in Sudan.

The Sudanese military is also preparing rescue missions amid early reports, still to be confirmed, that as many as 15,000 homes have been destroyed and 20 people killed by the flooding across the country..


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