South Sudan braces for influx of more refugees, returnees

By William Madouk 

Government has placed the average of the refugees and returnees fleeing the Sudan crisis to South Sudan territory at 500 people daily, across each of the twelve entry points.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs & Disaster Management, Mr. Albino Akol Atak said now the country, based on the projected average will be receiving 6,000 refugees and returnees on daily basis.

“When we talk about people coming daily, we had to make an average of at least 500 people crossing through 12 entry points. But in reality, this is an average because in Renk alone up to now about 9,000 people arrived,” Atak said.

“Maybe today, it will become 1,000 or 2,000 tomorrow plus other entry points, this is why we come up with 500 people. So, 500 multiply by 12 entry points are 6,000 people coming daily to South Sudan,” he added.

Mr. Atak revealed this after a meeting with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in which they discussed and agreed on how to coordinate and receive those fleeing Sudan war.

“Today we have reflected on the situation and we shared with the UN agencies the plan of the government for intervention … and now we have agreed to put our hands together so that we immediately intervene,” Minister Atak noted.

Based on plan, temporary settlements or camps for vulnerable people will be identified, but those with families in the country should go to their relatives and others will be ferried to their states of origin to build their livelihood.

For his part, Acting Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Peter Van der Auweraert said the United Nations is working in coordination with government to provide basic services to the conflict-affected people.

“We have teams on the ground, mostly in Renk … we have people there to help vulnerable people there to transport them from the border to Renk and provide them with the basic services that they need before they can move on,” he said.

Mr. Auweraert explained that the reason as to why they will transport people was to avoid creating another IDPs settlement. 

“What we want to avoid together with the government is that, we do not want people to end up in camps, these are South Sudanese nationals they should be able to go to the places where they can build up normal life,” he added.

He also commended the government for opening its border to refugees after crisis engulfed Sudan, describing it as an ‘example’ and good ‘hospitality’ from authority not just regionally but globally.

“Yesterday, there were 24 Kenyan students that come from Khartoum that were helped to go back to Kenya but they were allowed to enter into South Sudan and that shows the hospitality,” Auweraert lauded.

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