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Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the World Food Programme support to Sudan; how much of that aid is funded; and which regions of the country (a) are and (b) will be receiving World Food Programme supplies. (76023)

The World Food Programme (WFP) emergency operation in Sudan, which I discussed with Jim Morris of the WFP on 8 June, is the largest in the world. The UK has provided £49 million to the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) this year, of which the WFP has been the largest recipient. We are also supporting the WFP in the development of its five-year strategic plan for Sudan, and have provided the WFP with £5 million for road projects in the south.

Only 49.5 per cent. of the WFP's 2006 budget has been funded to date. As a result, the WFP was forced earlier in the year to halve food rations to Darfur temporarily, though ration levels elsewhere have been maintained. Recent additional support from two key food aid donors (the EU and the US), and a contribution of 20,000 tonnes of Sorghum from the Government of Sudan, have since enabled the WFP to increase the ration level in Darfur to 84 per cent. Reinstatement of full ration may be possible by October, though this is still not certain.

This year, the WFP is providing over 730,000 MT of food aid to approximately 6.1 million people across Sudan. Of those, 2.7 million are in Darfur, 2 million are in the south, 1 million in the three states of South Kordofan, Abyei and Blue Nile, around 250,000 in eastern Sudan, and smaller numbers in other parts of the country.