The World Food Programme (WFP) says it is scaling up emergency food assistance to reach nearly 160,000 people hit by floods that have devastated nine states of Sudan.
“Rains and floods have been much worse than anyone could have anticipated, causing a national disaster,” Hameed Nuru, WFP representative and country director in Sudan, has said.
He said: “People have lost their homes, farmlands, schools and loved ones. Some of these people have lost everything.”
The flooding is the worst Sudan has suffered in nearly a century. According to Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission, 650,000 people have been affected since the start of rains in mid-July.
WFP provided a first round of emergency food assistance to 7,200 people and distribution of essentials to 40,000 people is ongoing.
Nuru told reporters: “WFP is working tirelessly with the Government of Sudan and partners to get food out to the affected people. Together, we are trying to scale up the number of people reached every day.”
WFP is planning to distribute two-week rations to flood-affected people in Khartoum, East and North Darfur, White Nile, North and West Kordofan, Red Sea, Sennar and Kassala. As assessments progress, the number of flood-affected people requiring food assistance will probably increase.
With the heavy rains making access to affected areas difficult, WFP has facilitated rapid needs assessments and delivery of assistance using the WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS).
Since the start of the flood season, WFP has participated in roughly 20 assessment missions to guide interventions and identify people who are most in need. It has also transported three metric tonnes of food supplies provided by the government to flood-affected people in Bout town in Blue Nile State.
The floods come at a time when hunger levels are already alarmingly high in Sudan, with increased and protracted displacement, economic decline, inflation and sharp food price rises, exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, WFP continues to provide emergency food assistance to ensure that critical support reaches people in need.
“WFP is also working to implement all necessary precautions during distributions to minimise the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 and ensure the safety of staff and the people we serve,” Nuru said.