UN airlifts relief supplies to South Sudan

Sudanese refugees gather for a meeting with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Photo by: T. Garrett / UNHCR

About 60,000 Sudanese refugees in need of assistance will soon find some comfort after the U.N. relief agency started airlifting relief supplies to South Sudan on Tuesday (Dec. 20).

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees transported 12 tons of supplies from Nairobi in Kenya to Malakal airport in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state. It was the first of 18 flights set to deliver tons of plastic sheets and rolls, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, buckets, jerry cans and kitchen sets to refugees in the Upper Nile and Unity states who fled the fighting in Sudan in recent months.

Apart from the airlifts, the agency plans to send 10,000 tents to South Sudan in the weeks ahead, at an expected cost of more than $8 million. The tents will come from a warehouse in Dubai.

“These supplies are desperately needed,” said Vivian Tan, UNHCR spokesperson in Juba, South Sudan. “Families often arrive here exhausted, hungry, cold or sick. We have already distributed whatever we had on the ground, including aid from Juba and Malakal. Our local warehouse is almost empty now.”

UNHCR says at least 40,000 refugees have arrived in Upper Nile since September — 25,000 in Doro camp and an estimated 15,000 in the Elfoj border in Maban county. In Unity state, meanwhile, the agency says about 22,000 refugees have settled in Yida camp since August.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.