Central Sudan relief airdrops to be completed this week

KHARTOUM
Nov 26 (AFP)

Food airdrop operations launched by the UN's World Food Program (WFP) in mid-November in the rebel-held Nuba mountains of central Sudan will be completed by the end of November, a Sudanese government relief official said Monday.

The director of emergency administration in the Humanitarian Aid Commission, Khalid Faraj, was quoted by the state-run SUNA news agency as saying that out of the 2,000 tons of grain allocated for the drops, the WFP had by Saturday dropped 700 tonnes in the Karkar, Kauda and Keral regions.

Faraj did not specify what progress had been made in a fourth region, Seref al-Jamus, where airdrops had also been planned.

The remaining supplies would be dropped by the end of this month, said Faraj, adding that the airdrops were going on "smoothly and without hurdles."

US Sudan special envoy John Danforth, who witnessed the drops during a visit to the country earlier in the month, had called for an indefinite extension of a four-week truce in the Nuba mountains to let the airdrops go ahead.

The state press reported Saturday that Khartoum was ready to extend the truce period if the four weeks proved insufficient for airdropping the 2,000 tons.

The Nuba mountains, home to hundreds of thousands of people, are one of the main theaters of confrontation in Sudan's 18-year old civil war.