By Julius N. Uma
July 29, 2010 (JUBA) — World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide has received a contribution of £20 million to address Sudan’s food security needs.
The donation, provided by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), will provide urgently needed food assistance for malnourished children, drought-hit communities and internally displaced people in Sudan.
Already, some 39,500 tons of mixed commodities, including cereals, corn soya blend, vegetable oil, sugar and salt have reportedly been purchased with the donation.
The DFID contribution, according to Corinne Fleischer, WFP’s Deputy Country Director in Khartoum, comes at the peak of the “hunger season” in Sudan, the pre-harvest period of heavy rains from May to September, when families are low on food stocks and the risk of malnutrition is highest.
“Our food stocks were at a critical point when we received Dfid’s contribution. Dfid’s timely response means we are able to continue our life-saving assistance during this difficult period,” the WFP’s Deputy Country Director said.
Acknowledging the DFID contribution, Mr. Henry Bellingham, the UK Minister for Africa and the United Nations said the coalition government will remain committed towards strengthening its partnership with not only South Sudan, but the entire country as well.
Asked about UK’s commitment towards Sudan’s forthcoming referendum scheduled for early next year, Mr. Bellingham reiterated his government’s will, saying all mechanisms were being put in place to ensure that the referendum is held in a free, fair and transparent manner.
“The UK government, which has for long supported this country, will continue with its mandate of not only improving food security, but also offering supports towards efforts leading to a successful referendum next year,” Mr. Bellingham, who was making his first visit to Africa said.
The Minister was accompanied by the UK Special Envoy, Mr Michael Ryder and the British Ambassador to Sudan, Mr Nicholas Kay. Also present was the Deputy Co-ordinator for WFP South Sudan Operations, Mr Wurie Alghassim.
Sudan remains one of the world’s largest complex emergencies. This year alone, the country requires an estimated $864 million to address for food security needs of its population.
Meanwhile, WFP plans to reach almost 11 million people, including up to 4.6 million people in Darfur, about 4.3 million people affected by drought in southern Sudan and a further 1.7 million food-insecure people in the central and eastern parts of the country.