UN diverts wheat to famine-threatened Sudan

Published April 9th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

A ship carrying 23,200 tons of wheat has been diverted to Sudan from a neighboring country amid heightened efforts to avert a new Sudanese famine, the World Food Program (WFP) said Sunday, April 8. 


The WFP-chartered ship will arrive in Sudan in the next 10 days and its cargo will be distributed quickly to the war-ravaged south and drought-hit west, the UN agency said in a statement released here. The WFP did not reveal the original destination of the ship. 


The Sudanese government last week announced that a ship carrying 30,000 tons of wheat had arrived in Port Sudan on the Red Sea to ease food shortages in North Darfour, North Kordofan and Bahr Al-Ghazal. 


Last month, the WFP said as many as three million people are threatened by hunger in southern and western Sudan. In a report, the WFP warned that it was running out of food aid supplies and appealed to the international community to provide more than $100 million in assistance over the next year. 


UN officials are asking donors to act swiftly to avoid a repeat of the famine that left around 250,000 people dead in 1985 and the devastating food crisis that hit war-torn Bahr Al-Ghazal in 1998. 


Although the UN's humanitarian agencies say they are now better prepared to cope with drought and famine in Sudan, a slow or meager reaction from international donors could still cause disaster. 


Sudan has been locked in an 18-year civil war between the rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army — representing Christians and animists in the south — and successive Arab and Islamic governments in Khartoum. Northern opposition groups joined the fight against Khartoum in 1995. — (AFP, Khartoum) 


© Agence France Presse 2001

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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