New York, US (PANA) - The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners have relocated 8,000 Sudanese refugees from a transit site in the north-east of South Sudan to relieve overcrowding, the refugee agency said.
UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards said in a statement made available to PANA in New York on Wednesday that the move follows several deaths, and the prospect of new arrivals of up to 15,000 refugees into South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.
''The deaths are believed to be linked to the weak state the refugees arrived in after walking for weeks from Blue Nile state with little to eat or drink,'' he said, adding that these risk factors were amplified by the dwindling supply of water in Hofra.
''The weekend emergency relocation began after food and other relief items had been distributed to all 32,000 refugees in Hofra. UNHCR took the refugees to another transit site called Kilo 18, where an estimated two weeks of water supply is available. From Kilo 18, the refugees will be relocated permanently to UNHCR’s newest camp in Upper Nile state, called
Yusuf Batil,'' he noted.
The spokesperson said UNHCR was working with the South Sudanese authorities and local communities to identify additional refugee sites outside Maban county, where the refuges are currently hosted.
He said South Sudan is currently hosting more than 150,000 refugees from Sudan, many of whom have fled conflict and lack of food in their homeland, adding that over 112,000 of these are in Upper Nile state, while a further 51,000 are in settlements further west in Unity state''.
Last week, the non-governmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières reported
seven deaths among recent arrivals at the transit site of Hofra, about 25 kilometres
from the border with Sudan.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 13June2012