Nearly 94 tonnes of emergency aid has been airlifted into Chad to support thousands of people who have fled ongoing violence in Sudan’s West Darfur state, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, reported on Friday.
The aid – which includes blankets, jerry cans, mosquito nets and kitchen sets – arrived on Thursday from the UN agency’s Global Stockpile in Dubai.
“UNHCR is working around the clock to help people forced to flee their homes due to violence and persecution. This shipment will ensure thousands of vulnerable Sudanese families receive much-needed aid”, spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told journalists in Geneva.
More than 16,000 Sudanese citizens, mainly women and children, have crossed the border into neighbouring Chad following violent inter-communal clashes in El Geneina, West Darfur state, that first erupted in December.
They arrived exhausted, traumatized and often showing signs of malnutrition, according to UNHCR.
“Most are staying in the open or under makeshift shelters, with little protection from the elements”, said Mr. Mahecic.
“Shelter, food, water and basic health care are urgently needed, as refugees are being relocated further away from the border, for safety and protection reasons”.
Overall, Chad is hosting around 360,000 Sudanese refugees.
The emergency aid was transported to the country via a UNHCR-chartered Boeing 777.
The humanitarian charter flight, worth $308,000, was organized by UPS, the American package delivery company, through its team in Dubai, and the company fully covered the transportation costs.
The UNHCR global stockpile in Dubai contains reserves of family tents and other shelter materials, in addition to blankets, kitchen sets and other relief items, for more than 250,000 people.
It was established in 2006 and is the agency’s largest stockpile in the world.