February 3, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - United Nations officials in Sudan praised the humanitarian efforts exerted by the local authorities to shelter and feed South Sudanese refugees and offered to support its work, although they are not directly involved in the relief operation.
- South Sudanese refugees cook on an open fire at a camp run by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in the western part of White Nile state, Sudan, on January 27, 2014 (Photo AFP/Ashraf Shazly)
Since the beginning of the armed conflict in South Sudan last December, Sudan said ready to receive South Sudanese refugees and expressed willingness to provide them with the needed humanitarian support, before they move to settle in its different regions without restriction.
However Sudanese officials said they will not allow to establish refugees camps, saying they learnt from Darfur experience that such sites can be easily transformed into basis of political activities. In addition, only local aid groups are allowed to manage transitional camps in the border states.
In a joint statement on Monday, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator Ali Al-Za’tari and the head of UN refugees agency UNHCR in Sudan, Angela Li Rosi, welcomed the "commitment of the Government of Sudan to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance to South Sudanese".
The UN officials, however, expressed their concern over reports of "rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions" in the different sites and offered to provide support to the South Sudanese refugees.
"UNHCR and other UN Agencies stand ready to support the Government of Sudan and national organizations in providing protection and badly needed humanitarian assistance to the new arrivals and call on the Government of Sudan to facilitate sustained direct access to them".
Citing humanitarian agencies, UN OCHA said in its last weekly bulletin that, about 22,200 South Sudanese nationals crossed into the neighbouring Sudan. It also said 2,500 reached Abyei area.
Sudanese government set up a committee chaired by the Commission of Refugees (COR), to manage and coordinate assistance to those who flee the armed conflict in South Sudan. The Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) and Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) as well as other government agencies are members of this body.
The UNHCR provided 1,000 non-food supply kits, 400 for White Nile State and 600 for Heglig in West Kordofan State. This material is distributed by the SRCS which in addition has dispatched 1,000 non-food items and 200 tents from its own stocks to White Nile.
The Red Crescent, on the other hand, deployed a set of equipment to provide clean water - to a reception centre in Joda area in the White Nile. In addition, they have distributed food donated by the HAC to the affected families in the same area.