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IOM completes airlift of nearly 12,000 stranded South Sudanese


June 6, 2012 (JUBA/KHARTOUM) - The [International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday said it has completed the process of airlifting nearly 12,000 South Sudanese from Khartoum to Juba, the South Sudanese capital.

The 24 day process, the IOM said in a statement, reportedly involved 79 flights with the support of both the government of Sudan and its South Sudan counterpart.

Those airlifted had, prior to IOM’s intervention, been stranded and spent month’s at Kosti railway station, which is located about 300km south of Sudan’s capital waiting for transport back to South Sudan. While in Kosti, the White Nile state Governor reportedly ordered them to vacate the town by 5 May, but IOM requested for an extension of the deadline to enable the airlift take place.

The operation, which reportedly involved moving an average of 550 people per day, cost an estimated $5.5 million. It was funded by the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UNCERF).

"The success of this one-off operation, despite the challenges of extreme heat, dust storms and technical challenges posed by excess baggage was due to excellent cooperation between IOM staff, (Sudanese) government and aid agency partners, and service providers every step of the way," said Jill Helke, IOM’s Sudan chief of mission in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

Sudan’s Civil Aviation general director Mohamed Abdel Aziz disclosed, in statements made on Wednesday in Khartoum, that another operation is under preparation to transport thousands of South Sudanese to Juba.

South Sudanese started to return to the South through the Nile river since before the referendum on the independence in January 2011, but Sudan closed Kosti river port and accused Juba of confiscating 34 barges and using them to transport soldiers and military equipment.

In Kosti, prior to the airlifting process, IOM would register and medically screen passengers before transporting them by bus to Khartoum. However, in order to allow two flight rotations a day, passengers for the first flight of each day reportedly spent the night in Khartoum’s national camping center.

"On arrival in Juba, passengers were met by IOM staff and moved to a transit site established and managed by IOM and UNHCR [United Nations High Commission for Refugees], in coordination with South Sudan’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission," further says the statement.

At least 3,500 South Sudanese, according to IOM, are currently being settled in the transit site, which it says has the capacity to accommodate up to 7,000 people.

In addition to registering new arrivals and sharing information on the most vulnerable with humanitarian partners, IOM is reportedly providing shelter, water and sanitation, lighting and non-food emergency relief items in the transit site.

The organisation is also arranging onward transportation for returning South Sudanese arriving in Juba. To date, it says, three road convoys have been organised in Eastern and Western Equatoria states earmarked to help nearly 1,600 people reach their final destinations.

Meanwhile, IOM staff responsible for registration, drawing up flight manifests and pre-travel medical screening will reportedly leave Kosti railway station shortly, as the site is now being dismantled by White Nile state officials.

South Sudan gained independence in July last year after its population overwhelmingly voted for separation in the self-determination referendum held in January 2011. Between 500,000-700,000 Southerners were still living in Khartoum after the South seceded, but the 8 April 2012 deadline given by the Sudanese government for Southerner’s to leave, forced most of them to return to South Sudan.


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  • 7 June 2012 11:37, by Northern Sudanese

    Congratulations Kosti :)

    repondre message

    • 7 June 2012 14:28, by Logic


      NCP’s inhumane ways of dealing with fellow Sudanese. Yet they accommodate Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians etc etc... Oh they so wish to be accepted as Arabs. lololololol!


      repondre message

      • 7 June 2012 16:38, by Northern Sudanese


        Lol, arab wanna-be is becoming boring these days really........please, make up something else :D

        repondre message

  • 7 June 2012 12:09, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    I don’t IOM when will Northern sudanese be deported from south sudan?

    repondre message

    • 7 June 2012 12:47, by Ker.

      welcome back S/Sudanese but make sure you should not make the same mistake next time to associates with the enemy of your brother now I hope you have learn good lesson
      the enemy of your friend is your enemy as well

      repondre message

    • 7 June 2012 16:41, by Northern Sudanese

      Ayuiu Makuac Lam

      probably as soon as south sudanese will be deported, then sudanese in south sudan will be returned home. GOS already started the process with contacting northerners in the south preparing them to return north. Northerners are at high risk in the south, before independence, 80% of northerners in juba returned home. we are waiting for the rest.

      repondre message

      • 7 June 2012 18:31, by Beneben Bai

        You are a liar man. check yourself

        repondre message

        • 7 June 2012 21:56, by Northern Sudanese

          Beneben Bai

          my friends uncle works in juba, the government is preparing them to return home. some of course want to stay, but they must have a good reason. most already want to leave, not only sudanese but all foreigners in south sudan are preparing to return to their own countries. specially sudanese and ugandans due to high taxes.

          repondre message

  • 7 June 2012 12:58, by okucu pa lotinokwan

    Good Job done,but as reminder you go back again to Khartoum,you will get come back to the south by your own means no IOM any more, with the exception for those remainding southerers in other state,outside Khartoum.


    repondre message

    • 7 June 2012 14:30, by Loko El Pollo


      repondre message

  • 7 June 2012 19:49, by Tambura

    Thank ou guys for good job

    repondre message

  • 8 June 2012 11:22, by Waucity

    I think this is good that, many other Sudanese living Southern Sudan would have to go back too..Great@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    repondre message

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