We arrived in Renk and were met by two guys from Africa Development Aid (ADA), Cordaid’s project on the ground, and were taken the 40-minute drive into Renk to the north of the airstrip. The road into town was pretty bad because they had recently had some rain. We passed donkey carts carrying water on the way.
ADA brought us to the office of ACTED, which is the organisation managing the Transit Camp where the leadership shared about the needs in the camp. They told us there are 39 organisations working with them in the camp to deliver a response.
Inside the camp we visited the co-ordination office where we were told that the biggest problem in the camp is lack of shelter. They are battling a measles outbreak as many of the children arriving from Sudan had measles already. There were many more challenges.
Two days ago, it rained really hard and flooded the camp. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and ACTED had brought murram (road surface material) into the camp to try and raise the level. The transit centre is literally flooded by both people and water.
I was told that there are 1,000 people arriving in the camp every day. They travel by truck to the border fleeing war in Khartoum and are helped by IOM to reach the camp.
ADA took us to see one of the big tents they’ve set up to house refugees. The tent is currently home to 23 families.
Then the area outside the transit centre, people are just camping under bushes using every available space. People are staying in some pretty challenging conditions.
We were on the ground for three hours; during that time, the team spoke to refugees and workers to discover the need. It was important for the team to visit to see the situation first-hand. It was unfortunate that we didn’t have more time.
An UN flight that departed after me was able to give weather reports and we made it safely back to Juba.
Although the visit was all too brief, Cordaid Country Director Tom Otieno, offered a warm commendation for helping his team. ‘Tobias is very good pilot! Honestly, we just want to appreciate MAF, yesterday, we saw first-hand your mission of flying for life, we really appreciate it. Even the fact that Tobias, accompanied us to visit the camp. I think he witnessed a lot. You are contributing to this response and that cannot be underestimated. You are doing so much. We really appreciate it. And we are proud to be associated with MAF.’
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