WFP sends barge down the Nile River to deliver food to hungry Southern Sudanese
The convoy of seven barges, carrying 2,040 tons of cereals and pulses, will stop in 34 villages where WFP assessment teams have identified scores of destitute families in need of food aid assistance.
WFP plans to move staff along the river on fibreglass boats in order to have teams in position to help distribute the food on arrival in each location. The barge passes through the southern Sudan Lakes and Jonglei provinces before reaching its last port of call - the city of Juba - in Eastern Equatoria province.
In Juba, southern Sudan's most populated city, WFP will drop-off the largest amount of food, some 1,100 tons, which will be used to feed 120,000 people living within the city and in the surrounding areas. The majority of these people are displaced Sudanese who fled their homes due to fighting and came to Juba seeking protection.
Another group of people in Juba who will receive food are Sudanese classified as "vulnerable" such as children, elderly and the handicapped - groups which are particularly hard hit when food is in short supply. WFP will also use some of the food to continue feeding 800 Zairean refugees who are living in camps in Juba.
In total, WFP estimates that the barge will provide food to 377,350 Sudanese living in both government and rebel-held areas.
The WFP barge convoy is the first of three planned trips to Juba this year and the ninth since WFP's barge operation began in 1993. In the coming months, WFP also plans to send food barges along the Sobat, Zerat and Bentiu river corridors.
In addition to food, WFP barges carry UNICEF vaccination teams, medical supplies, seeds and tools on behalf of other UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.
WFP is also at the forefront of delivering emergency relief food supplies to more than 350,000 Sudanese in the province of Bahr El Ghazal where people are facing a humanitarian crisis following three years of widespread insecurity and persistent drought.
For further information, please contact:
Tel: (249-11) 471157
Michele Quintaglie/Lindsey Davies
WFP Information Office
Tel. (254-2) 622336/622191