• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Number of returnees to South Sudan passes the 300,000 mark

News Stories, 10 February 2009

© UNHCR/S.Lemena
Repatriation Milestone: Antazia Dulu, aged 72, became the 300,000 southern Sudanese refugee to return home.

NIMULE, Sudan, February 10 (UNHCR) The number of refugee returns to South Sudan since the signing of a peace accord in 2005 has passed the 300,000 mark, including 143,000 assisted home by the UN refugee agency.

The milestone was reached on Saturday when an eight-truck UNHCR convoy carrying 241 Sudanese civilians arrived at the border town of Nimule in Sudan's Eastern Equatoria state after leaving a refugee camp in northern Uganda's Adjumani district.

Antazia Dulu was officially designated the 300,000th returnee from Uganda and other countries in the region. "I was not happy in Uganda because I was a foreign beggar in someone else's home, but now I am back home and not a beggar any more," the delighted 72-year-old said on her arrival in this Magwi County town after almost two decades in exile.

Dulu will return to her home village, where her two surviving sons live. "I will need the support of UNHCR and the government to take care of me," she said, adding that she also expected her sons to help. "They are now old enough to take care of their mother, who struggled for them during times of hardship."

Of the 300,000 returnees, more than 43,000 have gone back to Sudan through the Nimule crossing point with the help of the UN refugee agency since August 2007. UNHCR's assisted voluntary repatriation programme for South Sudan began in December 2005, almost a year after the end of the long North-South war.

Kazuhiro Kaneko, head of the UNHCR field office in Nimule, noted that previous returnees had settled in well and had received reintegration assistance from the refugee agency, including funding for wells, schools and medical clinics.

Meanwhile, a tripartite commission gathering representatives of UNHCR and the governments of Sudan and Kenya met in the South Sudan capital of Juba on Saturday to discuss the repatriation of southern Sudanese refugees from Kenya.

The three sides set a repatriation target of 5,000 refugees from Kenya for 2009. There are an estimated 23,000 Sudanese refugees remaining in Kenya, mostly in Kakuma camp in the north-west. The commission members also backed further efforts to ensure continued sustainable repatriation, including the development of educational facilities in South Sudan.

By Ronald Drichi in Nimule and Kazuhiko Shimizu in Juba, Sudan

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

A Time Between: Moving on from Internal Displacement in Uganda

This document examines the situation of IDPs in Acholiland in northern Uganda, through the stories of individuals who have lived through conflict and displacement.

Repatriation

UNHCR works with the country of origin and host countries to help refugees return home.

South Sudan Crisis: Urgent Appeal

Donate now and help to provide emergency aid to tens of thousands of people fleeing South Sudan to escape violence.

Donate to this crisis

Battling the Elements in Chad

More than 180,000 Sudanese refugees have fled violence in Sudan's Darfur region, crossing the border to the remote desert of eastern Chad.

It is one of the most inhospitable environments UNHCR has ever had to work in. Vast distances, extremely poor road conditions, scorching daytime temperatures, sandstorms, the scarcity of vegetation and firewood, and severe shortages of drinkable water have been major challenges since the beginning of the operation. Now, heavy seasonal rains are falling, cutting off the few usable roads, flooding areas where refugees had set up makeshift shelters, and delaying the delivery of relief supplies.

Despite the enormous environmental challenges, UNHCR has so far managed to establish nine camps and relocate the vast majority of the refugees who are willing to move from the volatile border.

Battling the Elements in Chad

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Ahead of South Sudan's landmark January 9, 2011 referendum on independence, tens of thousands of southern Sudanese in the North packed their belongings and made the long trek south. UNHCR set up way stations at key points along the route to provide food and shelter to the travellers during their arduous journey. Several reports of rapes and attacks on travellers reinforced the need for these reception centres, where women, children and people living with disabilities can spend the night. UNHCR has made contingency plans in the event of mass displacement after the vote, including the stockpiling of shelter and basic provisions for up to 50,000 people.

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Since fighting broke out in Sudan's western region of Darfur last year, more than 110,000 Sudanese refugees have fled into Chad. They are scattered along a 600-km stretch of desert borderland under a scorching sun during the day and freezing temperatures during the night.

Access to these refugees in this inhospitable region is difficult. Staff of the UN refugee agency drive for days to locate them. Bombing in the border zone and cross-border raids by militia from Sudan put the refugees at risk and underscore the urgent need to move them to camps in the interior. In addition, the approach of the rainy season in May will make the sandy roads impassable. Aid workers are racing against time in an attempt bring emergency relief to these refugees.

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

South Sudan Crisis: One Year OnPlay video

South Sudan Crisis: One Year On

Uganda: A Father's TroublesPlay video

Uganda: A Father's Troubles

Forty-five-year-old Gabriel fled South Sudan with his wife and children to find safety in the UN compound in Bor. But, in April 2014, his wife was killed when an armed mob forced their way in, and now he is a single father to five children, seeking a better life in Uganda.
South Sudan: Adut's strugglePlay video

South Sudan: Adut's struggle

Thousands in war-torn South Sudan have lost their homes and livelihoods. When seventeen year old Adut lost her parents, she also lost her childhood by taking on the role of mom and dad for her young siblings. But, despite the everyday struggle, she is finding new skills and new hope in exile.