Plane fullof UAEaid flown to refugees
Prime Minister sends supplies to needy fleeing war in Africa
The UAE is to fly more than 100 tonnes of essential supplies to Uganda to help an estimated 60,000 refugees in desperate need.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, ordered a private plane to dispatch the supplies to those fleeing conflict in South Sudan.
State news agency WAM last night said the flight, due to leave this morning for Entebbe Airport, will carry sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, buckets and other essential items for refugees living along the Ugandan border with South Sudan. The basic relief items for children, women and the elderly would then be transported from Entebbe to the Pagiarinya settlement in Adjumani District by humanitarian agencies and the Ugandan authorities. Princess Haya bint Hussein, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed and President of Dubai’s International City for Humanitarian Services, said: “The UAE always come to the forefront of international relief efforts in various emergencies and crisis.” South Sudan has been gripped by civil war since 2013.
The war, in the world’s youngest nation – which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 – has left hundreds dead and many more displaced. The power struggle broke out between president Salva Kiir Mayardit and former vice president Riek Machar, backed by rebels. The number of South Sudanese seeking safety and shelter in neighbouring countries has crossed the one million mark, according to the United Nations refugee agency. “Most of those fleeing South Sudan are women and children,” said Leo Dobbs, a spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “They include survivors of violent attacks, sexual assault, children that have been separated from their parents or travelled alone, the disabled, the elderly and people in need of urgent medical care.” In terms of numbers, according to the UN, Uganda (373,626) accounts for the largest share of South Sudanese refugees. More than a third arrived since the most recent violence broke out. Ethiopia (292,000) and Sudan (247,317) are the second and third largest hosts to people fleeing South Sudan. Smaller numbers have also fled to Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR), since July. About 300 people a week have been crossing into Kenya, which now has over 90,000 South Sudanese refugees. The UN reports that refugees spoke of increased fighting and attacks by armed groups that kill civilians, loot villages and sexually assault women. “Many refugees arrive exhausted after days walking in the bush and going without food or water,” added Dobbs. “Many children have lost one or both of their parents, some forced to become primary caregivers to younger siblings.”