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Sudan: Darfur receives first food aid deliveries in months

April 5, 2024

The first aid convoys in months have arrived in Darfur. But the WFP's top envoy to Sudan said "unprecedented" starvation will sweep across the country unless more aid can be delivered.

People in Darfur receiving food aid from the WFP in March
Two convoys carrying enough food for 250,000 people arrived in DarfurImage: David Allignon/MAXPPP/dpa/picture alliance

The UN's World Food Program said on Friday it had begun delivering much-needed aid to the Darfur region of Sudan for the first time in months.

Two convoys were able to enter Darfur via a border crossing with Chad. They carried enough food for 250,000 people.

Darfur, along with the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, face "catastrophic hunger" amid fighting between Sudan's military and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary that has displaced more than eight million people and destroyed vital infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the WFP warned that the latest cereals harvest in Darfur was 78% below the five-year average.

"Hunger in Sudan will only increase as the lean season starts in just a few weeks. I fear that we will see unprecedented levels of starvation and malnutrition sweep across Sudan," said the WFP's top envoy to Sudan, Eddie Rowe.

A WFP aid convoy in Darfur
The WFP said fighting and border closures prevented the delivery of aidImage: David Allignon/MAXPPP/dpa/picture alliance

Fighting and border closures block aid

Some areas of Sudan are experiencing famine at the household level, but the fighting and border closures have prevented humanitarian organizations from delivering aid.

"We are extremely concerned that unless the people of Sudan receive a constant flow of aid via all possible humanitarian corridors — from neighboring countries and across battle lines — the country's hunger catastrophe will only worsen," WFP's Sudan spokesperson Leni Kinzli said.

In February, the Sudanese army closed the Adre border crossing for aid deliveries after accusing the RSF of receiving support from the United Arab Emirates via Chad. The WFP said it does not know when it will be able to use this route again.

"The temporary halt of the humanitarian corridor from Chad as well as ongoing fighting, lengthy clearance processes for humanitarian cargo, bureaucratic impediments, and security threats have made it impossible for humanitarians to operate at the scale needed to meet the hunger needs in Sudan," Kinzli added.

The UN appeal for $2.7 billion (€2.5 billion) for Sudan was less than 5% funded as of last month.

Sudan's plight: 25 million people need humanitarian aid

zc/ab (AFP, Reuters, AP)