, UNITED NATIONS, Jun 15 – The United Nations said Thursday it would send 8,000 tonnes of food aid to Sudan’s conflict-stricken states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile in a bid to ease growing shortages.
Government troops have been battling rebels in the two states for the past year and have stopped aid agencies from going into areas under rebel control. More than 150,000 people have already fled into neighboring South Sudan.
“We are deeply concerned about reports of food shortages,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.
“More than 8,000 tonnes of food assistance will be moved for distribution in the coming weeks,” the spokesman said.
The UN’s humanitarian agency “is assessing food needs in 23 government held locations in South Kordofan.”
“The areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile that are not under government control appear to be the most seriously affected by food shortages,” said Nesirky, who added that 109,000 people in need of food assistance have been identified.
The spokesman called on all sides “to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches all people in need, wherever they may be located.”
Sudan’s government accuses rival South Sudan of backing the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rebel army battling government troops in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The rebels claim to have inflicted heavy casualties on government forces in recent fighting.