UN Food Relief Agency Helps 1.3 Million People In Sudan's Darfur Region
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) last month fed more than 1.3 million people in the beleaguered Darfur
region of western Sudan, taking advantage of the end of the rainy season to distribute its biggest amount of aid since
the humanitarian crisis there began last year.
WFP officials gave out 21,535 tons of food during September, using aircraft, trucks and trains to deliver the aid to all
three states in the impoverished Darfur region, which is roughly equivalent to the size of France.
The agency said in a statement issued in the capital Khartoum that it had expected to reach about 1.2 million Sudanese -
mostly internally displaced persons (IDPs) - for the month. But better weather conditions and more streamlined
organization meant 1,336,992 people received food.
WFP Emergency Coordinator for Darfur Carlos Veloso said the September performance has given a boost to the agency's goal
of reaching two million people by the end of the year.
"Insecurity and especially banditry along trucking routes continue to present us with problems, but our ability to meet
the needs of the hungry is improving," he said.
The total was also boosted because some deliveries scheduled for August were delayed because heavy rains then meant many
roads were blocked. Those routes have now opened and WFP's fleet of trucks has also expanded.
WFP has received $211 million of the $252 million it requested to finance its Darfur operations this year.
About 1.45 million Sudanese are IDPs and another 200,000 live as refugees in neighbouring Chad because of brutal attacks
against civilians by Janjaweed militias and fighting between Government forces and two rebel groups.
Meanwhile, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Chad, Monica Pinto, will tomorrow begin her first
official visit to the country.
Ms. Pinto, who will spend 10 days touring Chad, is slated to meet senior Government officials in the capital N'Djamena,
including President Idriss Deby. She also expects to meet human rights activists and inspect the Sudanese refugee camps
in eastern Chad.