Sudan to relocate S. Sudan refugees outside Khartoum

South Sudanese arrivals in Sudan's White Nile State wait in a shaded area for registration and assistance at Al Waral site on 12 April 2017 (UNHCR Photo)

March 18, 2018 (KHARTOUM) Sudan’s refugee commissioner Hamad al-Gizouli said arrangements are underway to transfer the South Sudanese refugees to new areas outside of the capital, Khartoum.

Speaking at a workshop on the outcome of a recent survey about the status of South Sudan refugees on Sunday, al-Gizouli said South Sudanese refugees are present in all Sudanese states which pose a real challenge to the government.

He pointed out that the workshop discusses ways to enhance the status of the South Sudanese refugees and develop short and long-term measures to meet their needs.

Al-Gizouli said proposals were made to relocate South Sudanese refugees in Khartoum to Gedaref and Sennar States, pointing these states have camps but they need to be rehabilitated.

For her part, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) representative for Sudan Noriko Yoshida said South Sudanese refugees have lived in the various Sudanese states for a long time.

She stressed the UNHCR seeks to develop short and long-term solutions for the refugee problems, pointing her agency would continue to render support and services for the South Sudanese refugees in Sudan.

The UN official further said the workshop aims to address the problems of the South Sudanese refugees living in open areas in Khartoum.

Over 2 million South Sudanese refugees have been displaced as a result of the conflict that hit the world’s youngest nation in mid-December 2013.

According to the UNHCR, as of 15 January 2018, the total South Sudanese refugee population in Sudan stood at 770,110.

Other sources estimate a total of 1.3 million South Sudanese refugees in Sudan, but this data requires verification.

South Sudanese refugees in Sudan have reportedly been distributed in four states including the White Nile, South Kordofan, East Darfur and Khartoum states, amid concerns the current numbers will rise.

In August 2016, Sudan officially declared that South Sudanese fleeing war in their country will be treated as refugees, which opens the door for the UN to provide them with aid and fund aid programs.

The UNHCR said 3,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan in the first half of January 2018.

According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), an estimated 200,000 new South Sudanese refugees are anticipated to arrive in Sudan in 2018.