Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

UN food agency warns of food crisis in Sudan

GENEVA, Feb 22 (AFP) — The UN’s food agency warned Tuesday that there were signs that Sudan was facing a food crisis, following a sharp rise in crop prices in the country in recent weeks.

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Sudanese men unload sacks of sorghum during a delivery of aid from the World Food Program in Kalma Camp, near Nyala town, Darfur. (AFP).

The World Food Programme (WFP) said the price rises added to shortages caused by failed harvests, poor aid deliveries or violence, especially in the south and east of the country, and the strife-torn western region of Darfur.

“WFP is very concerned about signs of a food crisis in Sudan,” said spokesman Simon Pluess.

“The increase in crop prices in the last weeks has been sudden and significant,” he told journalists.

The WFP urged the international community to step up funding for about 300 million dollars (228 million euros) worth of food the agency needs to deliver this year. It has only received about eight percent of that amount so far.

“There is little time for us, because it takes four months for a pledge to materialise into food,” Pluess said.

Stocks were set to run out in April unless more deliveries were forthcoming, he added.

The most affected areas are Bahr al Ghazal in the south, which is just emerging from civil war, the central area of Kordofan and Darfur, according to the WFP.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency said an emergency team would shortly arrive in the south to prepare for the return of about 550,000 refugees from neighbouring countries following the peace agreement between the government and rebels.

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it hoped organised repatriation could begin later this year, along with the return of about four million internally displaced people in the south.

“It’s a staggering number we will have to deal with,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said.

“Refugees in camps in neighbouring countries have told us they are reluctant to return to a region almost totally lacking in infrastructure and basic services after more than two decades of conflict,” he added.

However, overall funding was short and the refugee agency has so far not received any of the 62 million dollars it needs in 2005 to prepare for returns, Redmond warned.

“We need funding now, urgently,” Redmond said.