Sudan: UN delivers aid to Southern Blue Nile

NAIROBI, 19 March (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) have begun delivering aid to Southern Blue Nile, eastern Sudan, for the first time ever.
The initial intervention was targeting areas controlled by both the government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), the UN agencies said in a joint statement released on Wednesday.

A total of 72 mt of cereals, pulses and corn soya blend were being delivered on Wednesday, WFP spokeswoman Laura Melo told IRIN.

Over the next month, WFP would truck and airdrop food supplies to a total of 79,000 people who were deemed to be "critically food insecure", the statement said.

Food would be provided to moderately malnourished children over a six-month period, and WFP teams would continue to monitor the situation on the ground, and provide food as needed in the months leading up the next harvest in October 2003.

"Food is one of the most pressing needs in the area," said Ronald Sibanda, the WFP country director for Sudan. "War and drought have take a vicious toll on the population, with many people risking hunger-related deaths if food is not provided urgently."

UNICEF's contribution included medicines, health kits and teaching materials, the statement said.


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