The UN refugee agency today launched a massive airlift from Dubai to South Sudan carrying urgently needed though nine flights full of aid for some 100,000 internally displaced people who have fled conflict.
The first UNHCR-chartered Airbus300 aircraft left Dubai this morning carrying 32 metric tons of supplies. Amongst the items being shipped are sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, water buckets and kitchen sets. It landed at around 12:00 noon local time at South Sudan’s Juba airport.
The remaining eight flights will deliver an additional 256 metric tons of relief from UNHCR’s global stockpiles in Dubai. The humanitarian items will be distributed to displaced people in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states. The aid supplies and nine flights will cost around US$ 2.6 million.”
Cosmas Chanda, UNHCR Representative in South Sudan said “The arrival of these essential non-food items will enable us to distribute critical supplies to survivors of violence, mostly in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei. More than 500,000 are displaced in these states and we need to reach them before the onset of the rainy season, which renders roads throughout the country impassable for weeks on end.”
“Terrified populations are being left without basic household items as they are forced to flee violence, often on multiple occasions, leaving them exposed to the elements without the ability to keep warm, cook or maintain basic standards of hygiene.” Chanda added.
Since the conflict broke out in December 2013, more than 1 million people have been displaced. Some 818,000 are currently displaced internally throughout the country, including 70,000 in various United Nations bases. In addition, some 280,000 have crossed borders into Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
Before today’s flight, the UN refugee agency in 2014 has airlifted humanitarian items to Juba to benefit up to 75,000 internally displaced persons in the country. An additional consignment for 10,000 people was airlifted to Malakal and distributed to displaced persons in that town.
The UNHCR stockpile in the United Arab Emirates was set in late 2006 as part of the International Humanitarian City (IHC), which was established in 2003 as an initiative by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
As a result of its growing success, the emergency stockpile in Dubai has quickly grown into the largest and busiest of the organization’s seven global stockpiles. UNHCR Dubai can serve up to 350,000 people with basic relief items. It constitutes half of the total emergency response capacity of UNHCR.