Navigating Conflict: Boats Deliver Lifesaving Supplies

Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua
World Food Program USA
Published November 16, 2018
Last Updated March 20, 2019

For the first time since civil war broke out in South Sudan five years ago, the World Food Programme (WFP) has succeeded in sending boats carrying lifesaving humanitarian food assistance to tens of thousands of displaced people in Ulang County of South Sudan. It’s a vital breakthrough in a country facing severe food shortages.

WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua

In October 2018, the river convoy, composed of one barge and 11 smaller vessels, transported enough food and nutrition supplies to feed 40,000 people for one month. The river journeys are challenging and require negotiating access to enable safe passage for the vessels.

Reaching this population was a small victory in a nation wrought with challenges. Nearly half the population of South Sudan — some 4.4 million people — don’t know when or where they’ll get their next meal.

In response to the growing humanitarian needs in the country, WFP is doing whatever it takes to deliver emergency food supplies using all means of transportation available: road, air and now, river.

“Millions of people don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” says Adnan Khan, WFP’s country director in South Sudan. “They urgently need humanitarian assistance. Without it, they face serious challenges. The opening of more viable delivery routes helps us to reach more people and get to them more efficiently.”

WFP plans to employ river convoys to deliver food for some 130,000 people in seven hard-to-reach locations in Ulang, Luakpiny and Nyirol counties through mid 2019. In previous times, these areas had to be supplied by airdrops, but access to river transport provides additional, cost effective options.

WFP does whatever it takes to reach hungry people with the food they urgently need to survive. We are committed to breaking through barriers to solve hunger