Broll / 5:18 / MP4 / 192.4 MB

14-09-2016 | Latest News , Africa

Drone footage highlights the scale of humanitarian response at Bidibidi refugee reception centre in northern Uganda


Shot 7-8 September 2016, Bidibidi reception centre, Yumbe, Uganda
B-roll duration 05:00, colour, mute/natural sound
DJI Phantom 4 drone aerials and ground shots
Copyright Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS)
Humanitarian pool coverage, no restrictions

Camera/drone operator: Denis Onyodi, Kampala

A swathe of countryside in the north of Uganda is gradually turning into a vast refugee camp as hundreds of people every day – as many as 4,000 people in a single 24-hour period – cross the border from South Sudan after renewed conflict there.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on 29 August launched an emergency appeal for nearly 700,000 US dollars to support the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) in assisting 40,000 refugees over the next six months with safe water, sanitation, hygiene measures, emergency shelter, and health care.

“The vast majority of people crossing into Uganda from South Sudan are women and children or people with special needs, such as the elderly and those with complex health issues,” said Andreas Sandin, IFRC Operations Coordinator for the region.

“After having travelled more than 400 kilometres from [the capital] Juba, they arrive exhausted, hungry, and in need of shelter. With more families arriving daily, we need to ramp up our activities quickly.”

The Bidibidi reception centre in Yumbe district is some 300 km north of Kampala but not much more than walking distance from the border with South Sudan, where fighting has erupted between groups loyal to the president or vice-president. URCS volunteers say the headcount of people who have passed through Bidibidi to date is 57,900 – just over a month after it was opened. In mid-August Bidibidi was hosting nearly 9,000 people and this figure has now increased six-fold.
“The appeal launched by IFRC will support the URCS to address issues related to inadequate supply of water, limited access to health facilities as well as curb outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases,” said Gracious Kyagaba, URCS Water and Sanitation Coordinator. “We shall also support refugees to set up shelters as way of giving them a decent life.”

Ugandan Red Cross volunteers are also assisting with the registration of new arrivals, who come in on UNHCR buses and then disperse into the surrounding countryside, here seen from the air for the first time. The volunteers are also operating a treatment plant to produce safe drinking-water and working to raise awareness of hygiene and sanitation, crucial in promoting good health for the refugees.

“It would not take much for a cholera outbreak to run rampant through the camp or extend into host communities.” said Dr Adinoyi Adeiza, IFRC health coordinator.

In late July, the URCS said in a press release its volunteers in the north of the country were “working around the clock to support those in need, evacuating the injured, offering first aid to the wounded, and referring many others to nearby hospitals.

“In partnership with UNHCR, UNICEF, the Office of the Prime Minister, URCS has been [helping register] new arrivals, transferring people from transit centres to settlement camps, preparing meals, supporting medical teams to vaccinate children for polio and measles, as well as carrying out tracing services...”

UNHCR estimated earlier this month that more than 100,000 people have fled South Sudan since fighting broke out in Juba in early July; the World Food Programme, meanwhile, is implementing an emergency operation to assist up to 80,000 South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda.

(Editors: The DJI Phantom 4 drone used by the URCS to document its work in Bidibidi was supplied by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, based at the Netherlands Red Cross in The Hague, as part of a programme for large-scale climate-related disasters in Africa supported by the German Red Cross and foreign ministry. It was on its first test flight that is also thought to be the first humanitarian use of a drone by the Red Cross Red Crescent in Africa.) 

B-roll shows (natural sound from Bidibidi camp dubbed onto mute drone aerials):

-Aerial UNHCR bus arriving with refugees

-Front of bus

-Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) volunteer with megaphone, guiding arrivals

-People helped off bus by volunteers

-Aerial second bus arriving with refugees, panning across refugees crowded in reception centre, tracking across camp

-Medium-height aerial tracking across tents and vehicles
-Cutaway of URCS logo, focusing to female refugee

-SOT Richard Balemesa, URCS reception centre manager: “The number of refugees…plot of land in this settlement.”                                              
-Tracking shot up track leading to unofficial settlement, panning up to show scale                                                                            
-People in reception tent

-Elderly lady registering

-Volunteers registering same woman

-Aerial across URCS water station
-Overhead shot URCS volunteer standing on water truck
-High shot of unofficial settlements
-Medium overhead URCS volunteers and camp workers walking through settlement
05:00 END

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