Concern team receives vital aid flight in Sudan on Christmas Day

Concern logistics advisor Paula Donohoe checking part of the aid consignment, funded by Irish Aid, after it arrived in Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
Concern logistics advisor Paula Donohoe checking part of the aid consignment, funded by Irish Aid, after it arrived in Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Christmas Day.

A Concern team has spent Christmas day preparing to distribute a major delivery of aid to refugees along the Sudan/Ethiopia border.

The consignment landed in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Friday and will be transported in the coming days to some of the 52,000 refugees who are in dire need.  The delivery, which includes essential items such as tarpaulin, mosquito nets, soap, towels and solar lights, is funded by Irish Aid.

Many of the first wave of refugees who arrived in Sudan from Ethiopia last month urgently need support, according to Concern’s Mark Harper, who was part of the emergency team sent to the region.  “Many people fled across the border with just the clothes on their back,” he said. “There were people selling their phones to buy clothes and other essential items.”

Most arrived in the border town of Hamdayet, which saw its population swell from 6,000 to 25,000 over a few days.   The refugees are fleeing conflict in northern Ethiopia. “The scenes there were chaotic, with people camping in the small town square or being accommodated in nearby villages,” he said. “Our focus there has been to protect the health of the new arrivals from the spread of diarrhea, COVID and malaria. “ This included managing waste disposal and promoting hygienic practices.

Erecting Tents

In recent weeks the Sudanese authorities have been encouraging refugees to move 150 kilometres away to a refugee camp at Um Rakuba, which is currently accommodating 19,000 people.  Concern staff have erected 500 tents at the camp and are also distributing essential items such as blankets cooking pots, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and soap.

“The temperatures are in the high 30s, there are not enough toilets or water,” Mark said. 

In addition to the turmoil of being displaced from their homes, and with the phone network in the region disrupted for over a month, many of the refugees who have been separated from their families are still trying to establish if they are safe, Mark added.

For media queries, contact Eamon Timmins, Media Relations Manager, Concern Worldwide at eamon.timmins@concern.net or 087 9880524

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