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TWO members of FIRE AID have recently returned from a life-changing trip in South Sudan where they supported the UN International Organisation for Migration.
Station Manager Steve Jordan and Fire Aid Team Member Adrian Brown carried out a hazard and vulnerability assessment with regards to fire, burns and scalds.
The assessment was undertaken at a Protection of Civilians site near the town of Wau which has between 26,000 and 39,000 people living in the camp. In addition, the FIRE AID team also visited a number of collection sites around the area, which was home to around 1,000 to 5,000 people.
Due to the ongoing unrest in South Sudan, there are huge pressures on humanitarian actors to provide safe spaces for families to live and escape the conflict. This has caused wide spread problems of fire risk due to the density of population, congested sites, use of flammable materials for the construction of shelters and cooking near these flammable materials.
Steve Jordan said: "When you have thousands of people living in shelters made of emergency aid plastic sheets, bamboo and straw and families cooking each day on open fires next to their shelters, the fire risk is considerably high.
“Even whilst we are here we have had reports of fires breaking out, although fortunately small and quickly dealt with by the occupant.
“We have also seen a number of rubbish fires break out, these also have the potential to escalate. So there looks like quite a bit of help and advice we can give them both now and in the future through FIRE AID."
Team member Adrian Brown said: "Following the start of the civil war a lot of the population fled to the UN bases seeking safety from the UN soldier.
“Here in Wau a camp was set up next to the UN base, but protected and secured by soldiers from the UN mission.”
The outcome of the assessment has been to produce a report with a series of recommendations that the IOM – what is this? can implement which meet the needs of the community, whilst balancing the realistic challenges of the context.
Both Steve and Adrian would like to thank FIRE AID for supporting them in this trip to make a difference, and to all the staff and community representatives they have met that have been so friendly and helpful. They hope to continue their valuable work in the area over the coming months.
FIRE AID brings together its members to deliver humanitarian aid to emergency services. To read more about the projects that FIRE AID have been involved with visit their website.