Thousands of Sudanese benefit from AfDB relief project

15 Apr 19

Funding from the African Development Bank is supporting a relief project for South Sudan, where more than a million people are reported to be in emergency situations.

Assisted by a $43.57m grant from the bank, the Short-Term Regional Emergency Response Project is being delivered by the UN’s World Food Programme. Since last December, it has provided 8,500 tonnes of food to more than 175,000 people.

Civil war flared up in the region in 2013, with South Sudanese forces backed by Uganda. It has claimed the lives of 400,000 people. According the relief charity Oxfam, the country’s economy is in freefall, with local markets and price skyrocketing, causing severe shortages of food and basic commodities.

In Africa’s largest refugee crisis, almost two million people have been displaced by the conflict. The WFP estimates that seven million people, more than half the population, are struggling to find enough food each day – the worst level of food insecurity since 2011, the year that the country separated from Sudan. The WFP is deploying rapid response teams.

An Oxfam statement says: “As people are forced from their homes, they lose their possessions, crops and income, and often get stranded in places where there aren’t enough facilities to support tens of thousands of new arrivals.”

Under STRERP, 432 retailers have been signed up to supply food in the regional capitals of Mingkaman, Bor and Wau, helping to stimulate local economies. In Wau 20,000 city dwellers have been given food and water vouchers, while receiving training in sanitation, health and nutrition and money management skills. The Wau project is also improving water supplies and will continue beyond this year.

Benedict Kanu, the AfDB’s country manager for South Sudan, said the WFP was doing a sterling job in delivering the STRERP project. He commented: “As internally displaced people return to cities, it has become challenging to meet the food needs of many. We need to work even closer with community groups and leaders to maximize the coverage, impact and sustainability of operations.”

South Sudan has a young population, half of whom are under 18. It ranks third lowest in the latest UN happiness rating report, which ranks 156 countries by happiness levels, based on factors such as life expectancy, social support, and corruption.

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