Emergency relief delivered to families in South Sudan

Nairobi, Jan 7: The international charity Save the Children Monday delivered 40 tonnes of emergency aid to more than 5,000 families displaced by fighting in South Sudan, Xinhua reported.

The cargo includes plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets and mosquito nets that will be distributed in partnership with UN agencies among people who were forced to flee their homes in Juba and Awerial.

“Children caught up in the fighting are at a significant increased risk of violence, abuse and separation from their families,” the charity said in a statement released here.

This is the third Save the Children aid flight into South Sudan since fighting began in Juba Dec 15, 2013.

The fighting has since spread to many other parts of the country, displacing almost 200,000 people, many of them children.

According to the aid agency, about 62,000 people are living in overcrowded sites at UN compounds in Juba, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu, where many are still without proper shelter and food, water and sanitation are in short supply.

Others have fled to safer parts of the country such as Awerial, where children make up 60 percent of an estimated 85,000 refugees.

The children are sleeping under the trees facing the threat of the spread of diseases, including malaria. Diseases caused by drinking dirty water from rivers and swamps are reportedly growing.

“We are expanding our response to meet the needs of more children in other locations, and will continue to scale up our response to more areas once the security situation allows it,” the charity said.

Humanitarian partners in the country have issued a $166 million plan to assist some 628,000 people over the next three months. It includes provision of protection, water, food, shelter and healthcare.

It also aims to help those who have left Sudan and sought refuge in South Sudan’s Unity and upper Nile states.

UN officials have repeatedly called for a cessation of violence and a political solution to the conflict, including accountability for grave human rights violations.

Representatives of President Salve Kiir and the feuding former deputy president, Riek Machar, are in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa for talks mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

This aid flight follows one from the agency that arrived in Juba Dec 30 2013, carrying emergency relief items including tents, jerrycans and blankets being distributed to 4,000 families. The first delivery of aid was brought into South Sudan by Save the Children Dec 24 last year.

IANS