By William Madouk
South Sudan received the first batch of humanitarian aid donated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to assist people fleeing the war in Sudan.
The 27-tonne first batch of humanitarian assistance includes assorted food items, non-food items, including tents, and medical items.
So far, South Sudan has welcomed more than 297,044 people who have fled war in Sudan since April 15.
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management said 8 percent of the aforementioned figures are Sudanese refugees, while third-country expatriates constitute 1%.
In his remarks, the minister of humanitarian affairs, Albino Akol Atak, said the supply is a generous response from Saudi Arabia, adding that more shipments are expected in the coming three days.
“I receive, on behalf of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the first batch of humanitarian assistance from the custodian of two most important, his majesty King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and the King Salman Centre for Humanitarian and Relief,” said Atak.
He added that the humanitarian support by the government and people of Saudi Arabia was in response to a written appeal by President Kiir to alleviate the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country due to the war in Sudan.
“The appeal is on the background of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country as a result of the ongoing conflict in Sudan since April 15, 2023, that forced more than 15,000 people to flee to South Sudan,” he noted.
“They [humanitarian aid] are transported through six cargo planes with a capacity of 27 tons each; the cargo will be arriving in three days, starting Saturday,” he explained.
Mr. Atak appreciated and welcomed the generous support rendered by the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A representative from the King Salman Centre for Humanitarian and Relief said the humanitarian support is to help alleviate the conditions of those affected by the raging war in Sudan.
“We wish, in coordination with the government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, that the donations would be distributed to affected people and hope it will be a great help to all,” he said.
The majority of those who arrived in the country—almost 80 percent—came via the Joda, Renk, and Maban borders; the rest came through the northern and western Bahr el Ghazal states, including Unity State.
In October, Minister Atak said the figure is expected to increase as war rages in Sudan and called on donors and partners to urgently intervene.
So far, the government of South Sudan has pledged about 15.3 million US dollars for humanitarian intervention.
And as of now, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said it has used only 3 million US dollars for evacuation.