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The World Food Programme (WFP) has received a US$11.32mn contribution from the European Union’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO) for life-saving food assistance in Sudan, in addition to US$14.72mn received at the beginning of 2021

Sudan WFP 23 DecWFP is facing a funding shortfall of US$358mn to maintain operations in Sudan. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

This funding comes at a critical time with humanitarian needs in Sudan expected to reach an all-time high in 2022. WFP is facing an unprecedented funding shortfall of US$358mn to maintain operations in Sudan over the next six months, which includes prepositioning food ahead of the rainy season.

“The support from the EU could not have come at a more crucial moment, as WFP urgently needs to increase its assistance to meet the basic food needs of more than 9 million people in the coming year,” said Marianne Ward, acting WFP representative and country director in Sudan.

“We are extremely grateful for this contribution, but additional resources from other partners are critical. The needs are enormous and food stocks and cash are likely to run out starting early next year. Time is running out to get food delivered to some of the most remote areas which will become inaccessible during the rainy season,” she concluded.

An estimated 10.9 million people in need of urgent food security or livelihoods assistance, including 1.1 million refugees. Essentially, one in four people in Sudan are facing an alarming food crisis. An average of 13.6% of children under the age of five, suffer from malnutrition across the country. In some areas, the prevalence of global acute malnutrition is as high as 30% or above – catastrophic levels according to WHO.

Wim Fransen, head of ECHO country office in Sudan said, “We are stepping up humanitarian support for those most in need in Sudan. In 2021, humanitarian needs in Sudan continued to grow, due to a protracted economic crisis, worsened by COVID-19, as well as increased insecurity and inter-communal violence, coupled with floods, disease outbreaks and an influx of refugees and asylum seekers. In addition, the political uncertainty has deepened the food crisis in the country.”

While international donor partners like the EU have so far stepped up and committed more than before to WFP’s response in Sudan, WFP is being forced to reduce aid or suspend certain activities as funding levels are not keeping pace with the rising humanitarian needs in 2022.

In 2021, the EU also contributed US$3.96mn to the WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in Sudan, which has enabled WFP to transport over 21,000 humanitarian passengers to 38 hard-to-reach locations to provide life-saving services over the past year.