June 9, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Aid agencies are currently in negotiations with the Sudanese government to boost humanitarian support to South Sudanese refugees that have crossed the border to escape ongoing conflict in their homeland.
In its latest humanitarian bulletin, (OCHA) said that the Sudanese government had agreed to relocate all arrivals from South Sudan at White Nile state’s Kilo 10 reception site, which is prone to flooding, to five alternative sites, following advocacy by aid agencies.
There are an estimated 30,000 South Sudanese refugees at the Kilo 10 site, mainly children and women, who account for 35 per cent of all South Sudanese refugees.
OCHA said that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is in the advanced stages of discussions with Sudan to restore cross-border movement of humanitarian cargo.
The availability of logistics infrastructure and the vicinity of a number of conflict-affected areas in South Sudan to the Sudanese border provides easier access for aid agencies to vulnerable people.
Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that hundreds of refugees have returned to Sudan’s Blue Nile state from Maban refugee camp in Upper Nile state due to significant food shortages in the camps.
OCHA said that aid organisations on the ground in Blue Nile have also reported that some refugees may have returned to rebel-held areas in the state, which along with South Kordofan, has been the scene of an insurgency.
More new arrivals have also been trickling into South Kordofan in recent weeks, said OCHA, citing reports from HAC.
Most recently 147 people from South Sudan arrived in El Leri locality of South Kordofan, although the figures and figures and humanitarian needs are yet to be verified and assessed by aid partners.
Overall, 13,713 people from South Sudan have arrived in South Kordofan since January 2014, according to International Organisation for Migration (IOM), accounting for 16 per cent of all new arrivals from South Sudan since the beginning of the year.
The details and dates of the relocation of refugees at Kilo 10 are yet to be determined, although Khaira Tawakalna, about 80km north of Kilo 10, has been confirmed as the first new site and UNHCR has commenced preparations for logistics and transportation.
The relocation plan will also identify which categories of people are to be transported first.
Sudan is currently hosting 84,734 people, according to UNHCR, which says the number has not changed significantly over the past week.
According to UNHCR, prior to the arrival of South Sudanese fleeing conflict in South Sudan, Sudan hosted an estimated 350,000 people of South Sudanese origin.
UNHCR began rapid needs assessment in Khartoum began on 25 May, covering both new and old South Sudanese caseloads in 33 different residential and open areas in Khartoum.
OCHA said the focus is on immediate humanitarian needs, but nutrition interventions and emergency medical and family tracing referrals will also be made throughout the assessment for the most vulnerable cases.