UN airlifts humanitarian supplies to South Sudan

Nairobi, Jan 22: The UN children’s fund has said that its first of two charter planes, each carrying 35 tonnes of live-saving emergency supplies for children and women, reached South Sudan Tuesday.

The essential supplies are expected to help thousands of children and women who have been displaced by the fresh clashes in the world’s youngest nation.

“The plane brought in treatments for malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition, as well as nutrients, vitamins, antibiotics and pain-killers for children,” Xinhua quoted Unicef in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The supplies come as the numbers of displaced have been rapidly increasing and well over half a million people are now estimated to have left their homes.

The supplies, which also include midwifery and obstetric surgery kits, equipment that will help to deliver clean water and sanitation, and tents, tarpaulins and blankets will help thousands of children and women in desperate need across South Sudan, said Unicef Deputy Director of Emergency Programs, Dermot Carty.

“The next plane will arrive on Thursday morning, bringing in more medical supplies and water and sanitation equipment. Children are dying from malnutrition and diseases that can be prevented in times of peace – such as measles and malaria,” Carty said.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that 494,000 people are internally displaced and 86, 100 have fled to neighbouring countries since fresh clashes erupted mid December last year.

The UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is sheltering more than 70,000 civilians who have fled to eight bases since conflict erupted between President Salva Kiir’s forces and those of former deputy president Riek Machar Dec 15.

IANS