By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
October 26, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Saturday that it is set to relocate thousands of South Sudanese refugees who recently arrived in Ethiopia.
More than 5,700 South Sudanese refugees crossed into neighboring Ethiopia due conflict in Jonglie State.
UNHCR’s Senior Public Information Assistant, Metasebia Yilma, told Sudan Tribune that the group of newly arrivals will be relocated to a new site at Akugo, in Ethiopia’s Gambella region bordering South Sudan.
According to Yilma, the South Sudanese refugees were temporarily sheltered with their host communities at the border but will be relocated to a site.
The UN refugee Agency will conduct the relocation operation of the South Sudanese refugees in collaboration with Ethiopia’s Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), a local implementing partner of the agency.
Currently there are over 68,000 South Sudanese and 32,000 Sudanese refugees in Ethiopian camps.
1,300 Sudanese Refugees relocated
Meanwhile UNHCR says it has relocated more than 1,300 Sudanese refugees who recently arrived in Ethiopia to Ashura, a newly established site in Benishangul-Gumuz region.
The Sudanese refugees were transferred to the new site because all the three camps in the Benishangul-Gumuz region went full to capacity.
According to officials, UNHCR and ARRA are currently working jointly to upgrade Ashura site to take in more people.
When the expansion and upgrading work in Asura site is completed with collaboration of the Ethiopian government, the refugee camp will be able to host an estimated 3,000 Sudanese refugees who currently are living with host communities along the border.
Health Survey Conducted
The UNHCR along with its partners have conducted the first mobile-based Standardized Expanded Nutrition Survey (SENS) in three refugee camps in Assosa where the Sudanese refugees are being sheltered.
“The main objective of the mobile survey was to assess the health and nutritional status of refugees, and to identify gaps and formulate recommendations” said the UN refugee agency in its latest refuge update.
The health survey was conducted in Bambasi, Tongo and Sherkole, refugee camps.