Near Juba, in the Southern Sudan, Regional President Abel Alier has laid the foundation stone of a new bridge across the Nile, designed to speed up relief shipments into the area after a civil war which lasted 17 years.
Near Juba, in the Southern Sudan, Regional President Abel Alier has laid the foundation stone of a new bridge across the Nile, designed to speed up relief shipments into the area after a civil war which lasted 17 years. President Alier -- who's also a Sudanese Vice President -- was accompanied at the ceremony by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadruddin Aga Khan. Until the bridge is completed relief shipments will have to use the traditional method for a Nile crossing at this point -- a ferry which caused delays of up to four days. Since the civil war ended last year, some 500,000 refugees have already returned to the Southern Sudan, and a further 200,000 are expected. The new bridge is designed to ensure the speedy passage of the building materials, feed, medicines, and equipment the refugees will need. Holland is providing the engineers and also paying half of the two million dollar (800,000 sterling) cost.
SYNOPSIS: In the Southern Sudan, a new bridge is to be built across the Nile to speed the flow of relief supplies into areas devastated during the long civil war.
The United Nations has allocated more than eight million pounds in relief for the 500,000 refugees who have returned in the first post-war year. But at present relief convoys face a wait of up to three days as they queue for their turn on the ferry near Juba. The foundation stone was laid by Regional President Abel Alier, watched by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadruddin Aga Khan.
The new bridge -- probably of the 'Bailey' type -- will be built by Dutch experts: Holland will also pay half the total cost of 800,000 pounds, together with some finance from Denmark.
Once completed, the bridge, together with its approach roads, will prove a vital link in the relief route from the Kenyan port of Mombasa, through Uganda to the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba.