IOM Cargo Flights Deliver Aid to Displaced South Sudanese
GENEVA, Switzerland, January 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM has launched an air operation to move vital humanitarian supplies to locations in South Sudan where people have been displaced by conflict.
The flights from IOM's logistics hub in Juba are carrying water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) equipment, medicine, shelter materials and relief supplies, including blankets, kitchen sets, soap, buckets and mosquito nets.
Since the outbreak of fighting in South Sudan last month, humanitarian actors have faced numerous challenges in delivering aid to displaced and vulnerable people. Many overland supply routes are insecure, and South Sudan's road infrastructure is among the least developed in the world.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced throughout the country, and our ability to access these populations has been significantly diminished by the conflict,” said IOM South Sudan Head of Operations John McCue. “These flights will allow us to rapidly deliver essential humanitarian supplies, and ensure that people can get the assistance that they need.”
The first series of flights is delivering supplies to Malakal, the capital of South Sudan's Upper Nile State, where heavy fighting has displaced thousands of people in recent weeks. Over 27,000 people are currently taking shelter on a UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Malakal.
Needs in Malakal were further exacerbated by the looting of IOM's warehouse in the town. Medicine, water purification equipment and other supplies were stolen and destroyed.
IOM is providing WASH assistance and health care for displaced persons in Malakal, and is also distributing shelter materials and relief supply kits. The first flights to the UNMISS Malakal base have carried items including hospital stretchers, detection equipment for meningitis and measles, plastic sheeting, building materials and supplies for IOM partner agency UNHCR.
Approximately 40,000 kg of cargo was transported from Juba to Malakal between 27 and 30 January, with IOM planes averaging two rotations per day. Flights to Malakal will continue through next week. Subsequent flights will deliver supplies to the towns of Bor and Bentiu.