China donates tents to shelter returnees, floods victims in South Sudan

(Xinhua) 14:26, January 11, 2024

JUBA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday donated 8,808 tents to the South Sudanese government to help it provide shelter for thousands of returnees fleeing conflict in neighboring Sudan.

Albino Akol Atak, South Sudan's minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, said 60 percent of the tents will go to vulnerable people in the 10 states and three administrative areas, and 40 percent will support vulnerable people in the national capital of Juba.

Akol said during the handover ceremony held in Juba that China in May 2023 donated food items that benefited returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). "Today, we are receiving another relief item in terms of tents that will help our returnees coming from Sudan and our internally displaced people that have been affected by many humanitarian crises."

"Sincere thanks to the government and people of China for the tremendous support and selfless help they have extended to the government and people of South Sudan," he said.

Akol noted that South Sudan is struggling to cope with the massive influx of returnees and Sudanese refugees since the outbreak of conflict on April 15, 2023.

"These people have been in Sudan for decades, and some of them will have no shelter to stay, let alone what to eat and other services. So this donation, plus the donation that we have already received, will benefit these returnees. The idea is to support their integration and resettlement in their areas," the minister said.

As of Monday, South Sudan has received 489,284 people from Sudan, and about 82 percent of them are South Sudanese nationals. Akol said they have already helped to transport 182,400 returnees to their areas of origin.

According to the United Nations, 9 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection services in South Sudan in 2024 alone. Humanitarian agencies require 1.8 billion U.S. dollars to respond to the humanitarian needs in South Sudan this year.

The minister said South Sudan is experiencing an unending economic crisis partly due to the prevailing humanitarian crisis, as the majority of its population is highly dependent on humanitarian assistance.

He appealed to the international community to provide in-kind support to South Sudan amid the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan Ma Qiang said China hopes to bring safety to the vulnerable communities. "The South Sudanese people who are fighting the disaster and food insecurity tenaciously will not be alone. Today, China officially handed over 8,808 tents to South Sudan, hoping to bring hope and safety to our friends. China has provided emergency food assistance to South Sudan for many years, benefiting more than one million people."

"A portion of the tents donated by the Chinese government will be distributed to returnees and refugees, which will meet their urgent needs. China highly appreciates the mediation efforts by South Sudan. It is hoped that the Sudan crisis could be addressed peacefully at an early date, enabling the political transition of Sudan to be implemented smoothly," Ma said.

William Chan Achuil, the undersecretary for the South Sudanese Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, said the Chinese government has always been supporting South Sudan in its hour of need, adding that this latest donation will ease the burden on vulnerable communities.

"The Chinese government and people extended support to the people of South Sudan in many locations whenever we have an emergency in any area. They are always on board with us," Chan said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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