The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley, today concluded a two-day visit to Sudan where he met leaders of the new government and travelled to Kosti to waive off the first three barges to carry humanitarian food supplies down the River Nile to South Sudan since 2011.
“This is a new dawn for Sudan, a Sudan that can positively impact the future of the whole region,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme after meeting the Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok.
“WFP has been a long-time partner to the Sudanese people, and we’re ready to support the government and the people during this historic moment.”
On his visit to Kosti, Beasley saw the three WFP-contracted barges loading 4,500 tons of food procured locally in Sudan. They then sailed upriver to the South Sudanese towns of Renk, Malakal and Bor. These food supplies are enough to feed 370,000 people for one month. River transport of humanitarian goods between Sudan and South Sudan largely stopped when the border closed after South Sudan’s independence in 2011.
The resumption of river transport was made possible by collaboration between the two governments and a recognition by all parties that the transport of humanitarian assistance is vital to conflict-affected civilians in South Sudan.
Transporting goods up the Nile is cost-effective and provides an alternative to road transport between the two countries – important in the rainy season when roads can become blocked.
WFP has delivered a total of 265,000 tons of humanitarian assistance across land borders to South Sudan since 2014.
This was David Beasley’s second visit to the country since he assumed leadership of WFP in April 2017. During his visit, Beasley also met the Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan; Deputy Chairman of the Sudan Sovereign Council, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Hemeti; and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Labour and Social Development and the Deputy Minister of Finance where he discussed Sudan’s historic transition and the need to expand humanitarian access across the country.