Juba — The first of two UNICEF charter planes, each carrying 35 tons of urgently needed supplies for children and women in South Sudan, landed this morning at Juba International Airport.
The plane brought in treatments for malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition, as well as nutrients, vitamins, antibiotics and pain-killers for children.
The supplies also include midwifery and obstetric surgery kits, equipment that will help to deliver clean water and sanitation, and tents, tarpaulins and blankets. The next plane will arrive on Thursday morning, bringing in more medical supplies and water and sanitation equipment.
"These essential and life-saving supplies will help thousands of children and women in desperate need across South Sudan," said Dermot Carty, UNICEF Deputy Director of Emergency Programmes, as the plane was being unloaded at Juba International Airport this morning.
"Children are dying from malnutrition and diseases that can be prevented in times of peace - such as measles and malaria. Our most urgent plea now is for all parties in the conflict to allow these humanitarian supplies to be transported and distributed safely to the children who have no part in this conflict. Each day we lose, we fail the children of South Sudan," Mr. Carty added.
The numbers of displaced have been rapidly increasing and well over half a million people are now estimated to have left their homes. 494,000 remain within South Sudan, while 86,000 are reported to have fled to neighbouring countries. Nearly 70,000 of those displaced within the country are sheltering in Protection of Civilian (PoC) centers of the UN Mission in South Sudan. Almost 80 per cent of those at the PoC centres are women and children.
UNICEF and its partners are delivering basic life-saving supplies and services, such as clean water and sanitation, food and nutrients for children, immunization, and tracing of children separated from their families to many of the displaced. Over 200,000 have been reached with some form of assistance; however, in areas where fighting has been heavy, humanitarian assistance is sporadic as access is limited.
UNICEF and its partners are taking advantage of windows of opportunity where the security situation allows staff and supplies to reach the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons dispersed across much of the country.