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In the month of April 1998, after the flight ban was lifted, the WFP announced that southern Sudan required 6,000 MT of relief food, at least two-thirds of that (4,000 MT) for 350,000 of the worst affected in Bahr El Ghazal. The WFP conceded that from April 1-20, it distributed a total of 1,335 MT of food aid to OLS (Southern Sector) beneficiaries, of which 808 MT went to the 240,000 beneficiaries in Bahr El Ghazal. AThis represents 22 percent of the projected monthly requirement for the region.@60

An obvious limitation on the amount of relief delivered to Bahr El Ghazal was that the WFP had Sudan government permission for only one large cargo aircraft, a C-130. The WFP appealed to the government to grant clearance for one more.61 Clearance was granted a few days later,62 on the eve of IGAD peace talks with the SPLA in Nairobi in May.

One additional aircraft was not enough, and WFP/OLS asked for two additional C-130s and one Buffalo (for landing in difficult terrain to deliver seeds and tools) for Lokichokkio and another C-130 for El Obeid (government-controlled territory of Kordofan).63 Permission was granted.64

But the numbers discovered to be in need were growing faster than aircraft capacity. Although by May 1, one source estimated that those at risk of famine in Sudan were 2.48 million, the official estimates had not reached that number.65 Hopeful estimates were that the additional aircraft would enable delivery of 6,000 MT of food a month (1,000 MT by road and barge) for 380,000 people in government and rebel areas of Bahr El Ghazal, and 410,000 in other parts of Sudan.66

The WFP admitted to an understandably chaotic state of affairs in May:

We=re working at top speed to double and triple the entire operation in a matter of days. This means pulling in staff from other countries and arranging for three times the amount of food, fuel and airdropping equipment to be moved into position to meet the enormous needs of this operation.67

With additional aircraft, limiting factors still included the rain which made dirt airstrips unusable,68 lack of jet fuel,69 the quantity of food available for distribution from the forward supply depots in Kenya and Uganda,70 and the infrastructure in these two countries: Kenyan ports were congested and roads were washed away by floods. Northern Ugandan roads were mined by the Lord=s Resistance Army (LRA)71 and by the West Nile Bank Front, both Sudan-government supported Ugandan rebel groups. They also occasionally ambushed relief convoys going to Sudan.72

By the end of June, the estimated number at risk in Bahr El Ghazal was raised to 701,000 (not counting Wau).73 The WFP also concluded it needed to give a bigger food ration to those already being reached. Those assisted in prior months had received less than full rations, and far less than they needed.74 Under WFP guidelines, a full ration per person per day is approximately 0.4 kilograms in weight, and thirty days= full ration for one person is about twelve kilograms.75 The June WFP monthly delivery target was 9,600 MT;76 this would require a jump in capacity. USAID observed, ALast month [May] only 3,860 MT was delivered to all of southern Sudan.@77 The Sudan government authorized WFP to expand large capacity aircraft from five to twelve which would double the amount of food transported to 10,000 MT per month. The WFP reported that Afamine zones are emerging in about 25 pockets of the Bahr El Ghazal region, and there are reports that children are dying at the rate of about 15 per day.@78

Shortly thereafter, the WFP announced it was targeting 2.6 million people throughout Sudan: 1.2 million in SPLA areas of southern Sudan; 1.2 million in government areas of southern Sudan, South Kordofan and South Darfur; and 200,000 in northern Sudan.79 Although a comparative wealth of detail is available about target populations and amounts delivered in the southern sector of OLS, the target populations served by the northern sector in southern Sudan are not as clear.

In early July, the government authorized a total of thirteen large aircraft at U.N. request to serve the southern sector. The Sudan operation became the largest airdrop operation in the thirty-five year history of the WFP.80 Some said it was larger than the Berlin airlift.81 By the end of August, fifteen large cargo planes were authorized and in place,82 and eighteen by October, traveling to one hundred locations.83

The increase in volume of food delivered after the cease-fire (coinciding with the steady build-up of OLS) was marked: WFP delivered 10,300 MT of food aid in July to southern Sudan, and 16,800 MT in August, 70 percent by air.84 Food deliveries to Bahr El Ghazal in September were about 15,000 MT.85

The U.N. Consolidated Appeal for 1999 summed it up:

During 1998, OLS mounted the most complex set of interventions in its ten-year history. By the end of November, WFP had delivered 88,000 MTs of food. At the height of the crisis, WFP was delivering an average of 15,000 MTs of food per month to an estimated one million beneficiaries using a combination of road, river and air corridors.

. . . With the exception of the two-month flight ban over Bahr Al Ghazal imposed by the Government, OLS was able to access more locations per month than at any other time in its history. On average, 204 locations received flight clearance each month.86

60 WFP, Emergency Report No. 17 of 1998, April 28, 1998: Sudan; see WFP, Press Release, AWFP Seeks to Step Up its Airlift of Food Aid to Southern Sudan to Avert Catastrophe in the Bahr El Ghazal Region,@ Nairobi, April 21, 1998.

61 WFP, Press Release, AWFP Seeks to Step Up its Airlift of Food Aid to Southern Sudan to Avert Catastrophe in the Bahr El Ghazal Region,@ Nairobi, April 21, 1998.

62 OLS (Southern Sector), Press Release, AAnother Large Cargo Aircraft Approved,@ Nairobi, April 25, 1998.

63 WFP, Emergency Report No. 17 of 1998, April 28, 1998: Sudan:.

64 OLS (Southern Sector), Press Release, AUN Granted Permission to Fly Four Additional Aircraft,@ Khartoum/Nairobi, May 3, 1998.

65 Stephanie Nebehay, AUN Appeals for $65.8 ml. to avoid famine in Sudan,@ Reuters, Geneva, May 1, 1998.

66 OLS, Press Release, AUN Granted Permission to Fly Four Additional Aircraft.@

67 WFP, Press Release, AWFP Announces the Arrival of Additional Aircraft,@ Nairobi, May 7, 1998. Food aid originally allocated for other regions appeared to have been diverted to manage the crisis in Bahr El Ghazal, thus deepening the crisis in other areas. International Office of Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS Dispatches No. 30, July 1, 1998: ASouthern Sudan: Food Aid Diverted.@

68 ARains Threaten Food Distribution to Southern Sudan: WFP,@ AFP, Nairobi, May 15, 1998.

69 WFP, Emergency Report No. 19 of 1998, May 8, 1998: Sudan.

70 USAID, FEWS Bulletin, May 1998, May 20, 1998.

71 See Human Rights Watch/Africa and Human Rights Watch Children=s Rights Project, The Scars of Death: Children Abducted by the Lord=s Resistance Army in Uganda (New York: Human Rights Watch, September 1997).

72 "Relief Envoy Ambushed Outside Sudan,@ AANA, Koboko, Uganda, October 26, 1998: an NPA relief convoy returning from Sudan after having delivered relief supplies was ambushed inside Uganda two kilometers from Koboko on October 15. In this most serious ambush of NPA workers to date, two NPA cars came under heavy fire, and the truck driver, his assistant, and the officer in charge were killed on the spot. All were Sudanese. Another two, one a woman passenger, were injured.

73 It has been pointed out that the 701,000 estimate suggests that the U.N. is capable of estimating this population to the nearest 1,000. No such capacity exists anywhere, to our knowledge.

74 The WFP food basket for Sudan at this time was calculated to add enough to existing food resources to assure 1,900 kilocalories/person/day. The food aid basket consisted of sorghum or maize, pulses, cooking oil and salt. The cereals were unmilled Aand no compensation was made for energy losses during hand milling. Salt was rarely distributed.@ Cooking oil was less frequently distributed because it could not be delivered by airdrop. WHO/UNICEF Mission: Food aid.

75 AFull@ rations (assuming no other source of food is available) are defined as 1,900 kilocalories per day by WFP, 2,100 by MSF, and 2,400 by the ICRC. AMost health organizations believe that the 1900Kcal/person/day ration is insufficient (when there are no other sources of food).@MSF, Nutrition Guidelines, p. 24.

76 WFP, Press Release, AWFP seeks to expand food aid cooperation in Sudan,@ Nairobi, June 11, 1998.

77 USAID, FEWS Bulletin, June 1998, June 26, 1998.

78 WFP, Press Release, ASudan to Allow Major Expansion of WFP Humanitarian Air Operation,@ Nairobi, June 26, 1998.

79 WFP, Press Release, AWFP Executive Director Catherine Bertini Calls on the International Community to Help End Fighting,@ New York, July 10, 1998.

80 USAID, Sudan Complex Emergency Situation Report No.2, Washington, DC, July 15, 1998.

81 "Sudan Relief To Surpass Berlin Airlift Aid, Rice Says,@ testimony of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice to a joint hearing of the House Subcommittee on Africa and the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, U.S. Congress, July 29, 1998.

82 "Sudan airlift grows in efforts to combat famine,@ Reuters, Nairobi, August 30, 1998.

83 "Sudan government suspends aid flights to south,@ Reuters, Nairobi, October 1, 1998.

84 WFP, Emergency Report, No. 36 of 1998, September 11, 1998: Sudan.

85 WFP, Emergency Report No. 38 of 1998, September 25, 1998: Sudan.

86 OCHA, U.N. Consolidated Appeal for 1999, p. 20.

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