Home | News    Saturday 18 December 2010

South Sudan approves additional $12 million for repatriation of displaced

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By Ngor Arol Garang

December 17, 2010 (ABYEI) - The regional government of southern Sudan on Friday approved an additional $12 million (around 30 million Sudanese Pounds - SDG) to repatriate internally displaced persons in Khartoum and other northern states ahead of the semi-autonomous region’s secession referendum.

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South Sudan returnees arrive at the main port of Juba after 17 days on a boat from Khartoum, December 17, 2010. (Reuters)

The extra funds were approved on Friday at a weekly meeting of the council of ministers after a presentation by the southern minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune from the regional capital of Juba, Barnaba Marial Benjamin Bill, the southern government’s spokesperson said that 62,723 people are waiting for transport from Khartoum to south Sudan.

In Sudan’s north-south civil war, which ended in 2005, around 4 million people were displaced other parts of Sudan and neighboring countries. As the south nears its referendum vote on January 9, many southerners are heading south.

"So far, we have reports from the minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management that there are already 62,723 people out of their houses in the open areas with children and elderly people in Khartoum. They are in horrible and pathetic situation to be assisted urgently," said Marial, who is also the minister of information.

Marial says that southerners have travelled to Khartoum from other areas of the north to look for transport and are concentrated in some areas looking for assistance.

"These people came from other states into Khartoum where there is huge concentration now. They are in open areas and are facing a lot of challenges including hunger and cold because most of them have left their places," he said.

The minister said the south’s repatriation task force would use trains and barges because of the increased cost of buses.

"The council of ministers has resolved that the repatriation task force use trains and barges in this second round of repatriation because business people with buses have now doubled up transport cost four times the initial transport cost," said Marial.

Reacting to the announcement of the additional funding for repatriation, Mawien Dut Liai, who is from southern Sudan, told Sudan Tribune from Khartoum that the funds were needed as many people were living in a “terrible situation” while waiting for transport.

"What our leaders and government of south Sudan have done today shows how much they care about their people. This decision has come at the needed time. This is one of the best decisions ever made our leaders,” said Liai.

He said that people living in Khartoum’s settlements for displaced people, "especially in Jaboruna, Wad-el Basher, Bhari and Dar el Salam have been living in terrible situation. They are out in the open wandering about."

On Wednesday the deputy representative of United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Southern Sudan, Mireille Girard, told Sudan Tribune that over 55,000 Southern Sudanese have returned to the south in the last two months.

She said that this estimate included those organized by the southern government and spontaneously to various states across the south.

Girard she said that once they arrive international NGO’s together with UNHCR help them to provide temporary accommodation at way stations for up to 72 hours, after which they are transported to their final destinations.

On arrival other agencies like World Food Programme (WFP) and the southern government provide the returnees with hummanitarian assistance including three months of rations.

(ST)

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  • 18 December 2010 08:27, by Marco A. Wek

    I heard from a number of people that Southern chiefs or at least some of them are using portion of the money given to them to repatriate our people and that a lot of people were let to stay at the bus stations for days with their children in Khartoum and we even don’t know the situation of those in different areas of Northern Sudan.

    I am asking those concerned with newly approved funds to make sure it goes to the real purpose of their release. Don’t let your people down. For those chiefs who are not using the money as it was meant to should change their hearts and save their people’s lives. You know very well if you leave them in the North, some mighty lose their lives. So please think twice about their children. They are your children and they are Southern Sudan children. You can find money but you cannot bring back lost lives of your sisters, brothers and most importantly CHILDREN.

    repondre message

  • 18 December 2010 21:44, by Tobiin

    the bill is only aiming to bring the people of lake state and not equatorians. is this government of south Sudan really fare? or do the people of lake state live close to the boarder Khartoum and south Sudan where they got pick up while all equatorians are living close to dongola?

    repondre message

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