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UN food agency welcomes $55 million contribution from Southern Sudan

Press release from United Nations | April 28, 2007

Sudan - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a $55 million contribution from the Government of Southern Sudan for the agency's rebuilding projects in the region, which is recovering from a 21-year conflict.

In a meeting between WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran and southern Sudan's Minister of Roads and Transport, Rebecca Garang Nyandeng, the minister announced that the Government would donate $41 million to the agency's Road Building and Demining Programme plus an additional $14 million towards refurbishing several airstrips in southern Sudan.

"Now that peace has been restored to the south, WFP is moving from emergency programming to helping people restore their independence and livelihoods. Rebuilding roads destroyed during the war is critical to that effort," Ms. Sheeran told the transport minister during their meeting in Juba on Friday.

"Where we have been able to rebuild roads, food costs have gone down 50 per cent and the cost of transportation has gone down as much as 60 per cent," she said.

This is the second major humanitarian donation made to WFP by the southern Sudan Government, which last year donated $30 million to the roads project, which has rebuilt nearly 2,000 kilometres of roads and removed more than 200,000 unexploded ordnance in the region since 2004.

A further 1,000 km of roads are scheduled to be rebuilt in 2007. The total cost of the roads project is $183 million.

The roads project was launched to make it easier to deliver food assistance in southern Sudan after the end of the North-South civil war, but the long-term benefits to the region's economy are its lasting contribution to food security, said Ms Sheeran, who also met with southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit during a one-day visit to Juba.

She reiterated WFP's commitment to helping build the peace with programmes such as Food for Work, which will increase by 25 per cent this year, and School Feeding, which will triple to 450,000 students in the South. WFP will also provide three-month rations to an estimated 430,000 returnees.

Ms Sheeran continued her tour of the region with a trip to Chad, where she was scheduled to meet with government officials regarding humanitarian challenges on the country's border with Sudan.

Article has been adapted from a news release issued by United Nations.

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