National, News

Gov’t airlifts 6,000 returnees to Juba, Wau

By William Madouk

About 6,000 South Sudanese returnees who crossed via Upper Nile state have been airlifted to their destinations, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management has revealed.

According to the minister, Albino Akol Atak, the returnees were evacuated in 15 trips to Juba and one to Wau in Western Bahr El Ghazal state with each flight carrying an average of 400 people.

Minister Akol said, government and partners designed temporary shelters for those fleeing the war in Sudan, targeting an estimate of 180,000 people to be evacuated, every month.

“We have evacuated since May 1, up-to-now about 6,000 people mainly from Paloch. The 14 trips are from Paloch to Juba and one trip went to Wau yesterday,” Akol disclosed.

“We are taking another trip which is not counted here and another trip is waiting to be taken to Way,” he added.

In his update to the media, Mr. Akol stated that registration is still ongoing in Paloch for the returnees who want to be transported to Bentiu, Abyei among other destinations.

“We will continue with other trips including those who are going to Bentiu and Abyei,” Minister Akol noted.

The returnees provided with assistances and a ratio card to continue receiving more aid after evacuation until they are fully integrated into their communities.

Mr. Akol also hinted that though on air-transport has been dominant, other means of transport like land and river will soon be implemented to make movement much cheaper and takes many people.

“The river transportation for us is cheaper and takes a lot of people, that is why we are actually going to now employ it,” he explained.

Minister Akol echoed that those returnees will be temporarily decamped before ferrying them to their respective states, to avoid creating another IDP camps, in the country.

Lately, the ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management said they need an excess of SSP 1.3 trillion ($1.7 billion) to address the current humanitarian situation in the country.

But, the minister of Finance and Planning, Dier Tong Ngor, released only SSP one billion as first payment to humanitarian Affairs docket to swiftly respond to the dire situation.

Eruption of violence between the military and the well-armed Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group on 15 April triggered a humanitarian crisis forcing many to seek refuges in neighboring countries.

Despite sustained pressure from countries concerned by the conflict’s wider repercussions as well as the safety of their nationals, the two sides have severally not abided to a temporary truce.

As fighting calmed down, some of the countries such as the United States evacuated their embassy staff out by military helicopter, triggering a rush by other countries.

Sudan hosts 800,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled conflicts there.

South Sudan gained its independence from its northern neighbor in 2011.

More than 2 million people are also internally displaced within South Sudan, where civil war broke in 2013 to 2018, resulting to an estimated 400,000 deaths.

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