Food relief airdropped to Sudanese refugees
THiRTY-TWO tonnes of food for refugees on the South Sudan-Sudan border were air-dropped by the World Food Programme yesterday, in a last-ditch emergency aid effort.
The food was wrapped in bags and pushed from a cargo plane that flew low and slow, then pointed its nose up so the cargo slid out the rear, said Challiss McDonough, a World Food Programme spokeswoman. No parachutes were used.
The air drop was used because a long rainy season has created muddy conditions, making ground deliveries slow and difficult for the refugees who have trekked to the camps to escape war and famine.
“This is the first in a series of airdrops that aims to replenish rapidly diminishing food stocks for more than 100,000 people who have fled the fighting north of the border,” said WFP Director Ertharin Cousin.
The first airdrops were made on Wednesday in Maban County in Upper Nile state. Camps there – along with another in the region called Yida – have received more than 160,000 refugees who have fled war on the other side of the border in Sudan.
The refugees in Maban come from the Nuba mountains in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. They have fled fighting between the rebel SPLM-North and Sudanese government forces. Fighting broke out in Sudan’s South Kordofan State following South Sudan’s independence in July 2011.
Since then, refugees have been pouring across the border. In camps along the north-south border, refugees have endured food and water shortages as well as the occasional bombing, which South Sudan has claimed are carried out by Sudanese warplanes.
WFP plans to deliver up to 2,000 tonnes of food to Maban over the coming days and weeks.
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