National, News

Situation of Refugees and Returnees is alarming

By Gladys Kole

The Sudan conflict has placed over 20,000 refugees and returnees in dire need of humanitarian aid at Paloouch, Renk and Jodah areas, along Sudan- South Sudan border.

A government delegation with partners that went to assess the situation of the refugees and returnees fleeing fighting described the situation of the evacuees as alarming.

The minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, Albino Akol Atak said the returnees and refugees on ground were in a terrible situation.

“They are suffering and what they got on ground is so alarming,” he said while speaking to the media upon their arrival at Juba International Airport on Tuesday.

He revealed that the registration in Jodah boarder went up to 20,000 returnees and refugees, as the reception centers are providing assistance of food and medical support upon their arrivals.

In regards to the situation in Palouch, the minister said that those who have fled to Palouch live in open air without shelter.

“Within the airport alone the number of people is about 3, 000. Palouch payam office has even been allocated to host more than 5,000 people,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Peter Van Der Auweruet, the acting humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan pitied the situation of the refugees and returnees.

“It’s a case of deep sympathy for people who had a normal life few weeks before the crisis with access to their jobs, schools to finding themselves with nothing,” he lamented.

He stressed that the evacuees are really traumatized even from the journey alone.

Peter explained that the UN has two priorities, to work with the government to provide humanitarian assistance to the people and also evacuating them to their places of origin especially, the returnees.

He noted challenges in the logistical aspect of the exercise.

“The challenge is the logistics part of it. To get enough planes, boats take some time making it a great challenge for the situation at hand,” the acting humanitarian coordinators expressed.

He noted the complicity in transportation in the country, saying magnitude of the task would increase with the rise in number of refugees and returnees continues.

“South Sudan is a lot more complicated when it comes to accessibility, roads and enormous distances. We are working with the government to step up our capacity,” noted the acting humanitarian coordinator.

The acting humanitarian coordinator also tasks the government to respond to the crisis, saying about 90% of the people coming are South Sudanese returnees.

“The idea is for them to go to their families, Payams, bomas, or cities. But for the Sudanese refugees who do not have where to go they can be taken to the two large camps that exist in South Sudan,” Peter stated.

According to Peter, most of the already registered refugees are Eritreans.

 “We got more than 1,000 people with 400 Eritreans and Nigerians” he disclosed.

Headed by the acting humanitarian coordinator, the minister of humanitarian affairs, minister of youth, the deputy speaker, government chief whip, chairperson of Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and humanitarian partners, visited the refugees and returnees.

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