- People in conflict-affected areas of South Sudan collect food from WFP (WFP/eter Testuzza Photo)
September 12, 2021 (JUBA) – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said it secured $5.9 million to support humanitarian air operations in war-torn South Sudan.
The European Union funds will be used to support the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) and the WFP-led Logistics Cluster, a mechanism designed to ensure efficient and effective emergency response in South Sudan.
WFP’s country director for South Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth said UNHAS and the Logistics Cluster allow humanitarian organizations to reach the most remote areas of South Sudan, ensuring that assistance reaches those who need it most.
“This would not be possible without the support from donors like the European Union,” he said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
The EU contribution, WFP stated, will help UNHAS to provide air transport services to 30,000 passengers and to transport 480 metric tons of light cargo in support of 290 humanitarian organizations across the country.
Over 8 million people reportedly need urgent humanitarian assistance after floods, conflict and COVID-19 have worsened the situation, following earlier years of conflict.
WFP said UNHAS remains the only common air service available for the entire humanitarian community in the country.
“Due to poor infrastructure, seasonal challenges, demographic constraints, and aviation gaps, the humanitarian community relies heavily on the WFP-run air service to safely reach areas of operation,” WFP said in a release.
It added, “These services include transportation of humanitarian cargo, warehousing, operational information management, logistics preparedness and representation at decision-making forums”.
According to the UN, South Sudan is currently facing its highest levels of food insecurity since its independence, with 60 percent of the population facing hungry.