EU contributes €17 million to help vulnerable people in Sudan's conflict areas

July 16, 2013 (Sudan Tribune)

The European Union has announced it will contribute 17 million euros ($22 million) to support humanitarian programmes in the conflict-affected areas of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The funding comes from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) and will be used to support the activities of the United Nations World Food Programme's (WFP) in Sudan.

The EU contribution comes as many families across Sudan struggle for survival in the face of unresolved armed conflict, hunger and malnourishment.

"We are in the thick of the 'lean season', when households have very limited access to food before the next harvest in October. This ECHO contribution is extremely timely because it will help us reach the significantly increased numbers of people who depend on our support," WFP Sudan country director Adnan Khan said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

Khan said the majority of those in need come from Darfur, where WFP will provide life-saving food assistance to some 2.9 million conflict-affected people, at least half of whom are displaced.

WFP also plans to provide nutritious supplementary food to more than 180,000 malnourished children, as well as pregnant and nursing mothers.

Humanitarian needs in Darfur continue to remain alarmingly high as the prolonged conflict enters its 10th year.

Ongoing fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, as well as recent rebel attacks that spread to North Kordofan also pose significant humanitarian challenges for Sudan.

On an official visit to conflict-affected areas in May, the UN's humanitarian coordinator, Valerie Amos, said continued unrest had resulted in massive displacement, as well as soaring levels of malnutrition in many parts of the country, including eastern Sudan, where some of the highest malnutrition rates have been recorded.

According to UN estimates, 2.7 million Darfuris remain in camps for internally displaced persons and over 4.7 million Darfuris rely on humanitarian aid.

WFP says it has managed to increase its operations in the restive region due to the consistent generosity of donors, with the European Commission remaining one of the largest supporters, having provided more than €500 million to WFP's operations in Sudan over the past decade.

The WFP says the ECHO contribution will also go towards its nutrition programme in Kassala and the Red Sea state in eastern Sudan in which the agency aims to treat 33,000 children under the age of five, as well as pregnant and nursing mothers at risk of malnutrition.

WFP also plans to provide a monthly food ration to some 35,000 newly-arrived refugees from neighbouring Eritrea in Kassala state.

In the conflict-affected border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, WFP will provide some 307,000 vulnerable people with food assistance, including nutritious supplementary food for about 16,000 malnourished young children, as well as pregnant and nursing mothers.

Sudan remains one of WFP's largest and most complex operations, providing food assistance to at least 3.9 million people affected by conflict, displacement and chronic under-nourishment.


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