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YIDA CAMP - 22 Nov 2012

Massive airdrops continue for Nuba refugees

The UN World Food Programme continues to drop massive amounts of sorghum at Yida refugee camp in South Sudan.

Airdrops in the camp began in August after seasonal rains cut off the road to the camp from the south. The UN had failed to preposition enough food stocks in the camp because they did not expect such large inflows of refugees from Nuba Mountains.

Each day a cargo plane flies over Yida airstrip three times dropping more than 1300 bags amounting to 66 metric tons of grain, according to Samaritan’s Purse aid workers at the scene of the airdrops.

Samaritan’s Purse has a contract with WFP to distribute the food in the camp. The organization uses trucks and hired laborers to collect the bags from the airstrip.

The organization runs a separate work crew of women to wash grain from bags that break on landing. About 100 to 200 bags break per day on landing. A group of 55 workers gathers this grain and washes it manually.

Women workers at the site said that they each receive payment of 30 South Sudanese pounds per day. But they complained that the work was difficult and they wanted also soap and cough medicine because the dust from the work sometimes affects them.

In another development, the Governor Taban Deng visited Yida today by UN helicopter and met aid officials at the UNHCR compound.

Photo by Radio Tamazuj: Women pause during work to sift dirt from grain at the site of WFP airdrops in Yida, northern Unity, 21 November 2012.