WFP launches breakthrough Nubah relief operation

14 November (IRIN)

The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday hailed what it called "a fantastic breakthrough" in being able to launch the first major relief operation in decades to the Nubah Mountains, Southern Kordofan.

The initial delivery of 100 mt of food air-dropped on Wednesday was part of a planned 2,000 mt to be delivered in the coming weeks to feed some 158,000 people impoverished and displaced by war, the agency said.

After years of UN negotiations, recently facilitated by the United States government, the government of Sudan and the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) last week agreed on a four-week period of tranquility to allow humanitarian assistance to reach the Nubah population, according to the WFP.

"This relief operation is a fantastic breakthrough after such long and difficult negotiations," the agency's Country Director for Sudan, Masood Hyder, stated. "It is a great achievement for all parties to be finally able to help thousands of desperately needy people in the Nubah Mountains."

The same drought that affected Darfur, Kordofan and other parts of Western Sudan earlier this year has also had a severe impact on the Nubah Mountains region, where a combination of drought and insecurity has reduced food production by almost 60 percent.

The urgent needs of the Nubah people had already been identified during a UN mission in 1999 when a major relief intervention was recommended. That could not be implemented because, until now, humanitarian agencies were not granted access to this conflict area.