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WFP Expects To Increase Darfur Relief This Year, Despite Insecurity

Despite the growing lack of security in Sudan’s Darfur region, the World Food Program says it plans to expand its relief operations in the New Year. This follows a suspension of aid last month in some areas.

Lara Mello is a spokesperson for the WFP. From Khartoum, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about getting food into conflict zones.

She says, “What we had to do, and this was around the 27th of December, was to suspend our truck convoys because of fighting that was taking place in West Kordofan…and this fighting was affecting the main route we use for land transport from central Sudan all the way through Darfur, so virtually road transport was suspended. What we had to do was to find an alternative route to be able to keep supplies moving into Darfur. Which we have done, but unfortunately it’s a much rougher route, much longer, therefore more costly.”

The WFP says it was able to reach 1.3 million people in December. It expects its operations will expand this year, despite continued insecurity and other aid agencies leaving Darfur. Ms. Mello says later in the year - starting around July - food needs will increase among the displaced.