The United Nations has welcomed a move by the Sudanese government to open a third humanitarian corridor, the second in as many months, for aid to be delivered from the country to famine-struck South Sudan.
This additional route from El Obeid in central Sudan to Aweil, a city in Bahr el Ghazal state in South Sudan, will allow the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to deliver an additional 7,000 metric tons of sorghum to support the 540,000 people in need of food assistance in the area.
The first convoy is expected to leave next week.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ms. Marta Ruedas praised the opening of the corridor, saying it would facilitate the delivery of relief to thousands of South Sudanese affected by the famine.
“This new road corridor, opened by the Government of Sudan, for the people of South Sudan, will help bring much needed relief to thousands of South Sudanese who are affected by the famine. Millions of people need food and other aid in South Sudan, especially the most vulnerable – and delivering it through Sudan is often the fastest and most efficient way,” said Ms. Ruedas.
Over 70,000 metric tons of various food commodities have already been delivered this year to South Sudan from Sudan. This includes the 11,000 metric tons of sorghum that WFP started delivering last month from El Obeid to Bentiu, in Unity State, after the Government of Sudan opened a second corridor.
There is also a corridor that runs through White Nile State in Sudan to north-eastern South Sudan. These humanitarian corridors not only allow for the timely delivery of the food aid, but also help reduce reliance on air operations, which cost six to seven times as much as moving food by river and road.
At least 7.5 million people across South Sudan – almost two thirds of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance. Sudan is also currently hosting nearly 400,000 South Sudanese refugees, who have arrived since the conflict erupted in December 2013.