UNHCR expresses concern over humanitarian needs of South Sudanese refugees in Khartoum

Khartoum, Sudan, (PANA) – The UN refugee agency on Thursday expressed concern over what it described as “the inadequate response to the humanitarian needs of South Sudanese refugees in Khartoum”

In a press release issued here, the UNHCR’s Representation in Sudan said the agency was  concerned about the inadequate response to the humanitarian needs of South Sudanese refugees in Khartoum, adding that over the past few months, thousands of refugees have been relocated or had their shelters demolished without adequate planning and consultation with the communities.

The release said the latest reports received by the organization indicate that some 220 shelters in Dar Es-Salam’s open area were removed by police on 23 October, reportedly leaving some 2,000 South Sudanese refugees without shelter.

Other refugees have been relocated to Bantiu site in Jebel Auliya locality and Naivasha site in Omdurman where inadequate reception planning has resulted in over-crowding, inadequate shelter, and over-stretched water and sanitation facilities.

The release said the UNHCR has welcomed an initial visit, jointly held by the Government and the UN in late August 2017 to Bantiu site in Jebel Auliya locality to make a general assessment of the situation of the South Sudanese refugees.

It said the field visit showed “clear and urgent humanitarian needs in water, sanitation, shelter, health and education”.

It, however, added that planning is underway for a more detailed Government – interagency assessment of the open areas in Khartoum state. A rapid assessment, supported with full access, will allow UNHCR and other actors to start providing much needed support.

The release said UNHCR acknowledges the Government of Sudan’s wish to find more sustainable options for hosting South Sudanese refugees who are currently living in “open areas” in Khartoum state and stands ready to discuss those options, bearing in mind the importance of a consultative process with key stakeholders including the refugee communities.

“Pending these longer-term options, UNHCR is hopeful that the immediate humanitarian needs of the South Sudanese refugees in Khartoum will be addressed in a timely manner to avoid unnecessary suffering” the release said.

In order to address the immediate and longer-term needs of South Sudanese refugees in Khartoum, agencies will also require donor support.

Across states, UNHCR is working to assist Sudan’s refugee response through providing basic services for over 450,000 South Sudanese refugees verified as newly arrived in the country since 2013, in partnership with the Commission for Refugees. UNHCR commends Sudan’s generous and open policy for hosting a large number of refugees.

“The Government of Sudan estimate is that there are some 1.3 million South Sudanese refugees in the country. UNHCR is working with Sudan to ensure all these refugees are captured through registration," the release concluded.
-0- PANA MO/VAO 26Oct2017

26 october 2017 19:14:26

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