By William Madouk
A cloud of uncertainty over who to support between Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and thousands of refugees and returnees fleeing the crisis in Sudan to South Sudan, has emerged amid funds scarcity from the donors’ community.
Peter Van der Auweraert, acting humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, rang the alarm bell over the lack of funds, adding that an up-to-date humanitarian plan is 25 percent funded only for people inside the country.
“To be honest, that is one of the challenges we face. When you look at the humanitarian response plan that was made before the crisis in Sudan, it is 25 percent funded only,” he said.
“So, we only have 25% money that we needed for people inside South Sudan; so, now we have this new situation – so, we are putting together a response plan and part of the response plan will be to see whether we will obtain additional funding to deal with this new crisis,” Auweraert added.
An estimated figure of over 9,000 South Sudanese returnees and refugees from the region have entered Renk County of Upper Nile state and are in ‘dire’ need of assistance, according to county authorities.
Mr. Auweraert stated that, if no funding is provided by donors, then they will be forced to take tough decision on who to support as the Country continues to receive influx of refugees and returnees fleeing the crisis in Sudan.
“If not [if no funding], then we will face difficult weeks and difficult few months because then we will really make a very hard decision on who are we going to help?” he lamented.
“Are we going to help some of the people in South Sudan or are we going to divert some of that money away to help some of the vulnerable people returning to South Sudan,” he continued.
According to him, the donor community has been very generous with Sudan for the past few years, asserting that as humanitarian agencies they might need financial support to help the vulnerable coming from Sudan.
“I think when we look at the past the donor community has been very generous toward South Sudan in terms of humanitarian assistance and we hope that will be the case going forward,” he lauded.
“We really need additional funding especially with number of influxes in terms of people arriving,” the acting humanitarian coordinator appealed.
Yesterday, the commissioner of Renk County, Mr. Kak Padiet confirmed to this outlet, the arrival of the refugees and returnees from Sudan which started in the last four days.
He put the figure at 3,108 refugees and it is expected to increase because many people are still crossing to South Sudan from Sudan.
Mr. Padiet said the condition of refugees is very dire asserting that the refugees and returnees come empty-handed without their belongings and clothes.
Renk commissioner said there is no any intervention from humanitarian agencies at the current moment, adding that it’s only local residents and well-wishers who at least offered a little assistance. He lamented of assistance delay from aid agencies, adding that refugees’ situation needs swift intervention now.