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After two months of blockage, food aid deliveries resume in Darfur- UN

This handout photo provided by World Relief shows emergency food being distributed by World Food Programme (WFP) and World Relief in Kulbus, West Darfur, Sudan, end of March 2   -  
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AP/ World Relief

United Nations

The United Nations said on Friday it has begun distributing food in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur province for the first time in months, following two successful cross-border operations, but the population still faces widespread starvation unless more help arrives.

The U.N.’s World Food Program said two aid convoys crossed the border from Chad in late March, but it had been unable to schedule further deliveries.

On Friday, a convoy with 1,300 tonnes of supplies was able to arrive via the Adre border crossing with Chad into West and Central Darfur.

Speaking in March, Pierre Honnorat, the WFP's Chad country director, said a cross-border operation was "critical; humanitarian corridors are a must. Many people are suffering in Darfur today and we don’t want more people to come to Chad so we really need to assist them where they are today.”

The year long war between military and paramilitary forces in Sudan is causing one of the world's worst hunger crises.

About a third of the population, or 18 million people, face acute hunger, U.N. aid agencies say. In Darfur province, where some of the worst fighting is underway, the situation is particularly severe.

The U.N. warned in March that some 222,000 children could die from malnutrition in the coming months unless aid needs are urgently met. The U.N. appeal for $2.7 billion for Sudan was less than 5% funded as of last month.

The fighting has been particularly vicious in Darfur, with brutal attacks from the Arab-dominated Rapid Support Forces on ethnic African civilians reviving fears of another genocide. 

In 2003, as many as 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million were driven from their homes, many by government-backed Arab militias.

The International Criminal Court has said both sides are committing war crimes.

The Sudan war is also spilling into neighbouring countries. More than half a million new refugees from Sudan have arrived in Chad, bringing the total population of refugees there to 1.1 million, the U.N. said in March.

The arrivals have strained resources among the existing refugee population there.

A U.N. spokesperson told The Associated Press on Friday that aid for all refugees in Chad is set to run out soon.