News / Africa

Crucial Airlift Begins of Relief Goods to South Sudan

Refugees wait for food aid to be distributed near the volatile border with the north, in Yida refugee camp in South Sudan, November 16, 2011.
Refugees wait for food aid to be distributed near the volatile border with the north, in Yida refugee camp in South Sudan, November 16, 2011.
Lisa Schlein

The U.N. refugee agency has begun a major airlift from Kenya to South Sudan. The planes will bring urgently needed aid to around 50,000 Sudanese refugees who have fled fighting in the two Sudanese border states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.  

The first of 18 flights using C-130 Hercules aircraft left Nairobi headed for South Sudan’s Malakak airport, a major landing strip close to the refugee sites.

The U.N. refugee agency reports the plane is carrying 12 tons of supplies, including plastic sheets, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets and kitchen sets. The remaining 17 flights will deliver more than 270 tons of additional relief supplies from UNHCR’s stockpiles in Nairobi.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said the supplies will be taken by road from Malakal airport either to Maban county in Upper Nile state in the northeast, or westwards to Unity state. In addition to these flights, he said the UNHCR will be sending 10,000 tents to South Sudan from its warehouse in Dubai in the coming weeks.

Reports of scattered refugees

“In recent months, as you will probably recall, Upper Nile and Unity states have been receiving refugees from fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. Many families have left with few belongings, walking for weeks through the bush," said Edwards. "In Upper Nile state, we know at least 40,000 refugees have arrived since September. Most of these are in Maban county. We are also looking at reports of around 27,000 refugees scattered across the Guffa area county, which is further to the north.”

Edwards said UNHCR aid workers are trying to reach these remote areas to verify the reports.

Sudan’s armed forces and rebels of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North have been fighting since September. The two sides also began fighting in South Kordofan state, Sudan’s main oil state, a month before South Sudan’s secession from the north on July 9.

Edwards said that since August, 22,000 refugees from the Nuba Mountains of Southern Kordofan state have fled to the Yida settlement in Unity state. He said the UNHCR is concerned about the refugees' security at Yida because it is near the border. He notes the settlement has come under attack in the past, most recently in mid-November.

Makeshift shelters used


“It is a settlement. It is makeshift in nature...  there have been bombings there in recent weeks. There has also been the problem amid rains, of landmines and on the roads where you try to move people," said Edwards. "Now, what tends to happen when people flee across the border, typically they want to stay somewhere where they can go back home fairly easily. And, so people are choosing to stay either for the moment. And, we are endeavoring to bring them to safer locations still.”  

Edwards said work is underway on alternative sites further south in Unity state. He said the UNHCR and its partners are providing the refugees in Yida with emergency assistance. Once they are moved to the new sites, he said the refugees will receive food, water and healthcare in addition to basic services.  

He said the refugees also will be able to attend school, receive skills training, farm and pursue other livelihood activities.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid