The World Food Programme (WFP) has estimated that $13 million to $14 million worth of food products destined to people in need in Sudan have been looted since fighting broke out last month, the agency said on Thursday.
WFP Country Director for Sudan Eddie Rowe, speaking to Reuters from Port Sudan via video link, described pillaging in the country as rampant and that some reports of the UN’s food programme supplies being stolen were still being verified.
"We've estimated that close to 17,000 metric tonnes have been looted, some in our warehouses, while others on wheels," Rowe said.
"This would translate to about 13 or 14 million US dollars — just the cost of the food. Almost every day we are receiving reports of additional looting," he added.
Rowe's comments come a day after UN aid chief Martin Griffiths appealed to the warring sides in Sudan to ensure safe passage of humanitarian aid and staff.
The conflict in Sudan has forced about 100,000 people to flee to neighbouring countries, according to the UN, and has hindered aid deliveries in a country where about one-third of people already relied on humanitarian assistance.
Rowe said that the WFP needed to purchase more supplies urgently for Sudan.
"We know that if we do not procure commodities now, we are going to run out of stock in the next two to three months," he said.
"We've already started our engagement with our donors to see how quickly we can procure and also deliver in these locations where we do have windows of opportunity and where it's considered relatively safe for us to provide assistance," he said.