WFP calls for safety of aid workers in Darfur

Accra- Ghana (PANA) – As another driver delivering- relief aid to Darfur is shot dead, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has called on Sudan and all s takeholders to ensure the safety of aid workers.
Mohammed Makki El Rasheed, 58, was killed on 21 April while travelling on a main transport route between North and South Darfur, to deliver vital food relief, t h e second such killing in two months.
The WFP had warned that it would have to cut food rations to the strife-torn Sud anese region by half because attacks on its trucks were preventing critical reli e f supplies from getting through, according to a statement issued by the UN Infor m ation Centre in Accra.
The statement said Rasheed, a father of six, was on his first-ever delivery trip to Darfur, where WFP is feeding over two million internally displaced persons ( I DPs) and refugees.
"WFP is calling on all rebel groups and their commanders on the ground to ensure safety along the roads where they operate, so that humanitarian food relief can arrive to those who need it," according to an update issued by the agency.
It is also asking the Government to increase the number of police escorts for WF P convoys, so more food can get through.
So far this year 60 WFP-contracted trucks have been hijacked in Darfur, with 39 trucks still missing and 26 drivers unaccounted for.
Another driver was killed while transporting food in South Darfur on 24 March.
The attacks have meant that WFP deliveries have dropped to less than 900 tons pe r day.
Normally, around this time of year, the agency's trucks should be deliver i ng 1,800 metric tons of food daily to supply warehouses ahead of the rainy seaso n , due to begin next month.

25 april 2008 20:21:00

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