Saturday, December 24, 2011


NAIROBI, December 20, 2011 (CISA) -The UN refugee agency today December 20 began a massive airlift of urgently needed aid supplies for some 50,000 Sudanese refugees in South Sudan.
The first of 18 flights using C-130 Hercules aircraft left Nairobi at 8 a.m. carrying 12 metric tons of supplies, including plastic sheets, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, buckets, jerry cans and kitchen sets.
Malakal airport, a major landing strip close to the refugee sites will be used by the aircrafts.
The remaining 17 flights will deliver an additional 272 metric tons of relief supplies from UNHCR’s global stockpiles in Nairobi. From Malakal, the items will be taken by road to either Maban County in Upper Nile state – some 300 Kms to the northeast – or westwards to Unity state. The 18 flights will cost an estimated $1.5 million, while the aid supplies being delivered are valued at $2.5 million.
In addition to these flights, UNHCR is planning to deliver 10,000 tents to South Sudan from their warehouse in Dubai in the coming weeks at an expected cost of more than $8 million.
In recent months, Upper Nile and Unity states in South Sudan have been receiving refugees from fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. Many families left with few belongings, walking for weeks through the bush to reach South Sudan.
In Upper Nile state, at least 40,000 refugees have arrived since September. Some 25,000 refugees are at the Doro camp, and an estimated 15,000 are stranded in the Elfoj border area. Both sites are in Maban County. There are also unconfirmed reports of some 27,000 refugees scattered across the Guffa border area further north. UNHCR border monitoring teams are trying to reach these remote areas to verify the reports.
In Unity state, some 22,000 refugees from the Nuba Mountains of Southern Kordofan state have fled to Yida settlement since August. The makeshift site is located near the volatile border and has come under attack in the past, most recently in mid-November.
UNHCR and partners have been providing emergency assistance while trying to persuade the refugees to move to safer sites inland. Work is ongoing to prepare alternative sites further south in Unity state.

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