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Relief Operations Resume in Western Upper Nile After Months of Suspension

Food aid was suspended in July 1998 for security reasons. In December 1998, the WFP announced that it had been able to resume food aid to Western Upper Nile. Some 375 MT of food were air-dropped following a lull in the fighting and security guarantees by the warring factions. WFP had access to Ler and Mankien and found that Ler, once a hub for food and health services, was a ghost town. The militia factions had raided Ler three times since June, looting and burning homes and destroying schools, the end of September 1998 being the last attack.145

The WFP estimated that 24,000 heads of cattle were stolen by the factions, and that because crops and seeds were looted in the raids, families had little success in cultivation.146 It found that the population of Ler was displaced mostly northwest in the Adok area, which was not accessible to the WFP team; few returned to Ler but those who did said that many lost their household belongings and that a large proportion of their cattle was taken in the raids. The team observed an unusually high number of livestock sales in Ler, apparently people selling their remaining cattle in order to buy grain. Those without cattle seemed to be surviving on kinship support and wild foods, and all lacked fishing equipment.147

In December 1998, the OLS worried that the Western Upper Nile situation was comparable to Bahr El Ghazal twelve to eighteen months before, where there were no crops to harvest because people fled instead of planting. The spokesperson for OLS said, AI think our worst nightmare is an acute emergency in Bahr El Ghazal combined with Upper Nile. We=re going to be very hard pressed to deal with both at once.@148

145 "WFP Resumes Food Aid to Sudan,@ PANA, Nairobi, December 10, 1998.

146 Ibid.

147 WFP, Sudan Bulletin No. 60, November 4-6, 1998, November 6, 1998.

148 Karl Vick, AAid Agencies Warn Anew That Sudan Faces Famine.@

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