Flooding in South Sudan

29 August 2012

Widespread flooding due to heavy rains and poor infrastructure is impacting thousands of lives in South Sudan. In Jonglei state, flooding has caused the destruction of numerous homes and businesses, forcing people to leave their communities and seek refuge elsewhere. While in Yida, the rains continue to exacerbate an already dire humanitarian crisis within the refugee camp.

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Beneficiaries in Yida watch as the Logistics Cluster helicopter is offloaded.

In addition to the displacement of thousands in the community, the flooding has caused a rapid deterioration of the health situation in the affected areas, mainly in Jonglei State. As such, NGOs requested the support of the Logistics Cluster to airlift critical supplies including: mosquito nets, medical items and WASH commodities into Lankien, Ayot County, Jonglei State.

Within 15 hours of receiving the initial request from the NGOs MSF-H and TearFund, the Logistics Cluster mobilised to transport three rotations (6.4 mt/37 m3) of emergency supplies with the Mi8 Logistics Cluster helicopters. The emergency supplies included four Tearfund staff to work in the medical clinic, 3mt of Primary Health Care Center Kits and assorted drugs, 1.2mt of assorted medical supplies, vaccines, and a solar fridge for cold storage of the vaccines, and 2.1mt of blankets, plastic sheeting, mosquito nets, and buckets for MSF-H to supply emergency shelter supplies for the affected.

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Logistics Cluster Mi8 Helicopter performing vertical takeoff in Yida after delivering life-saving cargo to the camp.

As the rains in Jonglei continue, additional cargo movement requests are being received and responded to on a critical priority basis.

In Yida, Unity State, the flooding has completely cut off a refugee settlement of over 60,000 people from all types of land transportation. These refugees have fled from the Republic of Sudan’s South Kordofan State are currently residing in the remote Yida camp. Many humanitarian organisations have set up in Yida in order to supply the refugees with critical programmes concerned with food, nutrition, shelter, WASH, protection, and health.

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Logistics Cluster Roving Officer providing information on coordination of air movements into Yida.

Yida camp is isolated; in the dry season it can only be accessed via surface transport over heavy bush track from the nearest village, Pariang. Due to the poor road conditions and the remoteness of Yida camp’s location, the humanitarian community is only able gain access via air transport. The air strip at the camp was constructed quickly by clearing land as a temporary measure and is currently in disrepair; however, helicopters remain the most reliable means of accessing Yida. Some organisations have continued to use fixed wing aircraft into Yida, however this at a limited capacity with the risk of further eroding the air strip. Yida is in danger of having even less capacity to respond to the growing needs of beneficiaries if critical repairs are not conducted immediately.

This week, in partnership with the Logistics Cluster, UNOPS has deployed a team of engineers to begin conducting crucial rehabilitation works on the airstrip. The equipment for the repairs is being moved by the Logistics Cluster Mi8 helicopter from Bentiu to Yida.

The Logistics Cluster has been attending coordination meetings taking place on the ground. Additionally, the Roving Logistics Officer has been assisting organisations with access to and information about air assets, UNHAS flight services, and coordination of flights to ensure that the valued air strip is uncongested. By coordinating flight times and aircraft type on the Yida airstrip and by providing information to partners, the Logistics Cluster continues to contribute to maintenance of the South Sudan Logistics pipeline during the rainy season (July – December).