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Sunday, September 5, 2010

SUDAN: A minister appeals for 5,000 tents in aid to flood victims

By Julius N. Uma
September 02, 2010 (JUBA) - The Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) requires a comprehensive approach to address the plight of an estimated 11,430 people displaced by severe floods in Aweil, the provincial capital of Northern Bahr El Ghazal, humanitarian aid officials have said.
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James Kok Ruei – South Sudan’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management (ST)
In an emergency meeting yesterday with humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), South Sudan’s minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, James Kok Ruei, called on aid groups to provide some 5,000 tents urgently needed to provide temporary shelter for the thousands of people displaced by the floods in Aweil.
“We are urgently appealing to humanitarian agencies and all stakeholders to assist us with tents for shelter provision. At the moment, we need about 5,000 tents to rescue the appalling situation,” the minister said.
According to official figures released by Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, only 283 households out of the 11,430 have been relocated to highlands, which leave the majority of those affected still in urgent need of immediate assistance.
The minister noted that the provincial government has already formed a crisis management committee, encompassing other state ministries, security agents, and international community agencies represented by UNDP, UNMIS as well as a state integrated team to oversee the ongoing operations.
“This committee [crisis management] consists of a highly competent team tasked with immediate re-allocation of the flood victims. In addition, the state government is working very closely with humanitarian agencies to rescue the worsening state of affairs,” he said.
Currently, safety and community awareness campaigns about the expected diseases related to floods, water, sanitation and hygiene, provision of shelter and clean water are some of the basic urgent needs of flood victims.
Joseph Lual Achuil, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disasters at the Government of National Unity, has also decried the worsening humanitarian situation in Aweil, calling for action-oriented interventions to address the problem.
“What we are witnessing in Northern Bahr El Ghazal is a humanitarian catastrophe that requires a collective effort from all stakeholders, government, humanitarian and aid agencies and even individuals. We need to act,” said Achuil who had just returned from Aweil.
The federal minister further revealed that his ministry had already sent 500 tents to aid flood victims in Aweil. Meanwhile, an assessment team is due to be dispatched today to Jonglei state to monitor the situation in the area.
He said that another cargo plane carrying relief items was sent to Juba yesterday in order to transport them later by trucks to Aweil. Those items include sheets, jerricans, water purification tablets, sugar, oil, lanterns.
Meanwhile, a taskforce was formed in Juba yesterday to liaise with other state taskforces to devise an intervention strategy to salvage the floods situation. The taskforce, which comprises different aid agencies and non-governmental organizations, will report to the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Minister for approval of action plans.

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