Emergency Aid Reaches Refugees in South Sudan

Responding to the humanitarian needs of increasing number refugees who have fled conflict, the United Nations refugee agency today launched a new emergency aid airlift for refugees in South Sudan.

Reports say the flights are bringing supplies such as kitchen sets, blankets, soap, plastic sheets and mosquito nets for 50,000 refugees currently in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.

According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeperson Adrian Edwards, the agency is also bringing in equipment for drilling new boreholes to increase the supply of clean water.

Children in Walgak, Jonglei State, South Sudan, smile for the camera as Valerie Amos (on left, in conversation), UnderSecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, visits the local clinic. UN Photo/OCHA

With the new airlift, UNHCR is optimistic that it will speed up the delivery of critical supplies.

Earlier this month, with now more than 150,000 Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, primarily fleeing from Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, the United States of America provided more than $34 million to support the emergency response to new Sudanese refugees.

The United States is concerned about the dire situation faced by the growing Sudanese refugee population in South Sudan.

The US government remains deeply committed to meeting the humanitarian needs of the people of South Sudan.

Access to sufficient water for the expanding refugee population in Upper Nile remains a significant issue.

Humanitarian agencies are also struggling to improve and maintain access roads that will allow sufficient assistance to reach the growing refugee settlements and surrounding host communities, he underlined.

The US is concerned that humanitarian agencies are still facing a shortage of the resources required to protect and assist the growing refugee population.

Recently, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has appealed to the international community for $145 million to help prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

The United States has already met 23% of this request, but 70% remains unfunded.

Earlier this week, with the arrival of estimated 35,000 refugees in Upper Nile State for the past three weeks, the humanitarian situation in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State has worsened.

Reports say most of the refugees came from the Sudanese state of Blue Nile.

According to the Office of the UN Hugh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the humanitarian agencies have been coping with a sudden increase in refugees arriving from a state in neighbouring Sudan.

Late of March this year, military clashes have erupted in the border region of Sudan and South Sudan.

Media reports say South Sudan accused Sudan of sending warplanes to bomb two border areas.

Meanwhile, Sudan accused the southern army of attacking the oil-producing Heglig region wherein parts of which are claimed by both warring nations.

The military clashes prompted Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir to suspend plans to attend a meeting with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir on 3 April.

On July 2011, South Sudan, Africa’s 54th nation was born. Millions of people celebrated a new national identity and new national promise. For more than two decades, Sudan has been riven by intense fighting over land and resources.

South Sudan became independent from Sudan on 9 July. A referendum on the status of the Abyei area on the border was to have been held in January this year, but never took place amid disagreement on voter eligibility.

Dozens of people have been killed this year as a result of clashes in Abyei and surrounding areas and tens of thousands of have been forced to flee their homes.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.