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UN relocates 3,500 displaced people in South Sudan

September 5, 2018 (JUBA) – At least 3,500 people displaced by the violence in South Sudan have been relocated from to a United Nations-run camp to a temporary housing in the capital, Juba.

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Thousands of people living in a UN protection camp in Juba, South Sudan, have been relocated to new temporary housing, Mangateen camp (UN photo)

The internally displaced people, who were living at a UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site, have been moved to a new location at Mangateen, near the central part of the city, the UN said Tuesday.

“This is the first movement of displaced people of this magnitude out of the UN Juba protection site. Almost all of those relocated were women and children,” said David Shearer, the head of the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

He added, “They had expressed a strong desire to leave the UN site and to be reunited with their husbands and other family members. Early indications and, in my discussions with those who moved, is that they are pleased to be back in the wider community.”

The relocation was carried out by the UN mission and humanitarian agencies, after negotiating an end to clashes between various groups in the camp which were posing a threat to those living there.

According to a statement from the UN, once a resolution to the “sporadic fighting” was reached, and people expressed their desire to leave the protection camp, UNMISS and its partners worked quickly to establish the temporary housing at the Mangateen site, along with access to clean water, sanitation and health services.

The facility was managed by South Sudan’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, which will continue to be in charge of the site, though aid agencies will provide additional assistance on request.

“Hundreds of thousands of people fled to UN protection sites across South Sudan out of fear for their lives during the ongoing conflict. But these camps are not a good long-term option for families,” said Shearer.

“If people have the trust and confidence that the environment is safe enough for them to voluntarily return home, UNMISS is poised to assist them. But providing that confidence in the security situation very much lies with the government,” he added.

The conflict in South Sudan has displaced more than four million people, either within the country or across the border. Nearly 200,000, according to the UN, are currently sheltering in protecting of civilian sites at six UNMISS bases nationwide.