We have been closely monitoring the serious food situation in Sudan. There are substantial supplies in Port Sudan. The problem is internal distribution. We are now providing £650,000 for the charter of a Hercules to be placed at the disposal of the Save the Children Fund within the next few days for a period of one month. That will airlift emergency food supplies to western Sudan where distribution problems have been acute. We are also providing up to £130,000 for the purchase of a light aircraft for use by voluntary agencies for moving supplies and personnel.
The European Development Council agreed on 23 May to my proposal to use emergency procedures to approve a £6 million project to rehabilitate the railway to western Sudan. I understand that the first phase, which provides special food trains, is already in operation.
We are holding further urgent discussions with the British voluntary agencies operating in Sudan to establish what immediate help we can give.