UNICEF Airlifts Urgent Supplies to Help those Displaced in South Sudan

The first of two UNICEF charter planes, each carrying 35 tons of urgently needed supplies for women and children in South Sudan, landed this morning at Juba International Airport.

NEW YORK ( January 21, 2014) – The first of two UNICEF charter planes, each carrying 35 tons of urgently needed supplies for women and children 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, blankets, and tents, tarpaulins for shelter.  The next plane will arrive on Thursday morning, bringing in more medical supplies and water and sanitation equipment.

“These essential and lifesaving supplies will help thousands of children and women in desperate need across South Sudan,” said UNICEF’s Deputy Director of Emergency Programs, Dermot Carty, 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 number of displaced has been rapidly increasing and well over half a million people are now estimated to have left their homes. About 494,000 remain within South Sudan, while another 86,000 are reported to have fled to neighboring 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 percent of those in PoC centers are women and children.

UNICEF and its partners are delivering basic lifesaving supplies and services such as clean water and sanitation, food and nutrients, immunization, and tracing of children separated from their families to many of the displaced. More than 200,000 have been reached with some form of assistance; however, in areas with heavy fighting, humanitarian assistance is sporadic as access is limited.

Despite challenges due to access and security, UNICEF is working with its partners to use every window of opportunity to ensure staff and supplies reach the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons dispersed across much of the country. 

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About UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.  

For additional information, please contact:

Andrea Sioris, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9136, asioris@unicefusa.org