Stranded Southerners to be Airlifted According to International Rules: Civil Aviation
IOM needs US$ 3 million to transport stranded South Sudanese
Khartoum- The government will start as of today Sunday transporting the citizens of the State of South Sudan stranded in Kosti Port in White Nile State via air bridge from Khartoum airport to Juba and Wau with a rate of (814) persons with six flights per day.
The Governor of White Nile Yousif Alshanbali revealed reasons that led the government to replace the river transport by air transport. He said that the government of south Sudan seized (34) river barges and five trucks belonging to the private sector which were previously used in transporting Southern returnees from Kosti to the South. Instead of leaving them to work in the humanitarian field, they used them in military acts by transporting military equipment to Renk area, pointing out this move which was not studied by the government of South Sudan, led the Sudanese government to take decision halting river transport and agree to the air transport as support from it to alleviate the suffering of South Sudan citizens.
He also stated that the conveys from Kosti Port to Khartoum airport started yesterday according to the agreement signed between Ministry of Social Welfare and the International Organization of Migration which is concerned with transporting of returnees besides the National Center for displacement and Voluntary Return.
The Governor affirmed that the government of South Sudan according to commitments of each party is assigned with the mission of transporting the, baggage of the returnees till Renk town, pointing out that his State provided security protection, humanitarian support, and health care to those stranded in Kosti port besides providing the necessary facilities to the international and national organizations operating in the humanitarian field.
On his part, the Coordinator of voluntary return of South Sudan State citizens said that Southern refugees in Khartoum state is estimated at about (90/000) refugees.
The Director of Khartoum International Airport Directorate Salah Eldin Salaam affirmed the completion of all arrangements for transporting Southern returnees via Khartoum airport with six flights daily that can be increased, confirming that transporting returnees will be in accordance with the international civil aviation rules such as passport, immigration, and customs formalities besides international health procedures.
Meanwhile, The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that there is an urgently need for US $3 million to airlift South Sudanese to Juba from Khartoum.
IOM decided to move the stranded South Sudanese to Khartoum from where they will be transported by airplane to Juba.
However, the IOM still needs US$ 3 million to carry out the whole operation. The total cost is estimated at US$ 5.5 million but the organization has only US $ 2.5 million.
"We need to get clear donor commitments at the outset of this operation to avoid any sudden mid-way stoppage due to lack of funds," said IOM Sudan Chief of Mission Jill Helke in a statement released on Friday.
Helke further said this operation is "complex" pointing out that any disruption will have severe consequences for the concerned people, many of whom are very vulnerable.
IOM will need to hire some 25 buses and charter up to 100 flights to move the entire Kosti caseload. It will also have to pay for medical screening and supplies, operations staff and escorts, overnight accommodation for the returnees and food.
By Zuleikha Abdul Raziq - Agencies, 12/05/2012