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Government launches operation “Sankat Mochan” to evacuate Indians from South Sudan

The UN reported, 36,000 South Sudanese civilians have fled their homes due to the fighting

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Two C-17s of the IAF will proceed to South Sudan capital Juba on Thursday for evacuation of stranded Indians. Image source: defence.pk

Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh will lead Operation ‘Sankat Mochan’ to evacuate Indians from South Sudan, which has been rocked by violence that has claimed hundreds of lives, it was announced on Wednesday, July 13.

“We are launching OP #SankatMochan to evacuate Indian nationals from South Sudan. My colleague @Gen_VKSingh is leading this operation,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

She said Singh will be accompanied by Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, Joint Secretary Satbir Singh and Director Anjani Kumar.

“Our Ambassador in South Sudan Srikumar Menon and his team is organising this operation on the ground,” Sushma Swaraj said.

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She also thanked Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and extended her best wishes to the Indian Air Force (IAF) for providing two C-17 Globemaster heavy-life aircraft for the operation.

V K Singh. Image source: Zee news
V K Singh. Image source: Zee news

There are around 500 Indians in the country.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Monday evening ordered a ceasefire after days of heavy fighting between government troops and forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar in Juba.

President Kiir directed all commanders to cease all hostilities, control their forces and protect civilians, Information Minister Michael Makuei said in a televised speech on the state broadcaster SSTV.

The ceasefire took effect at 6 p.m. local time on Monday any member of the Machar-led forces who surrendered must also be protected, Makuei said.

The latest bout of violence started after a localised gunfight outside Kiir’s residence in Juba on July 7 when he was holding a meeting with Machar.

Earlier on Wednesday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted that the two C-17s will take off for Juba on Thursday.

The Indian embassy in Juba said in a statement said the aircraft were expected to land at 11 a.m. local time and Indian nationals with valid travel documents will be allowed to board.

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The return flights will be only up to New Delhi, the statement said.

The UN has said 36,000 South Sudanese civilians have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Embassies and aid organisations in South Sudan are moving to evacuate staff from Juba amid the tenuous ceasefire.

The US military in Africa said it has sent 40 additional soldiers to Juba to help secure American personnel and facilities in the war-torn city, Fox News reported. (IANS)

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

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The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)