First UN food aid in months arrives in Sudan’s Darfur as famine looms

First UN food aid in months arrives in Sudan
Ashraf Shazly/AFP]

The Darfur region of Sudan has been in the grip of a year-long battle, and as a result, food aid has been severely limited. In response to mounting fears of starvation, the United Nations has resumed food distribution after a lengthy hiatus.

In late March, two relief convoys left Chad with nutrition support and food supplies for almost 250,000 people, according to the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP). A vital step toward alleviating the severe humanitarian crisis in the area has been the commencement of food distribution in Central and West Darfur.

These shipments mark the first WFP cross-border assistance convoys to reach Darfur in western Sudan since the humanitarian routes from Chad were restored after long talks. The already severe food shortage was made worse in February when authorities affiliated with the Sudanese army restricted access to Darfur.

One of the biggest food crises in the world has hit Sudan as a result of the battle that broke out in April of last year between army leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) head Mohamad Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo. According to UN assistance agencies, over one-third of the population, or about 18 million people, are in danger of dying of starvation.

Especially bad is the situation in Darfur, where horrific strikes by the RSF have stoked concerns of a return to the horrors of 2003. A lack of ongoing humanitarian access is still a worry for the WFP, even if relief has been delivered recently.

In order to prevent the food crisis in Sudan from getting worse, the World Food Programme stresses the critical importance of continued relief deliveries through all humanitarian corridors. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that food insecurity is worsened by the reduction in cereal production, especially in conflict-affected regions such as Kordofan state and Darfur.

Hunger in West Darfur has worsened dramatically because to the continuing violence and interruptions in food production. The impending lean season has sparked concerns about the potential outbreak of severe malnutrition and hunger in Sudan, highlighting the critical importance of ongoing humanitarian assistance in combating the problem.


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