Amid torrential rains UNHCR continues relocation of Sudanese refugees

Briefing Notes, 24 July 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 24 July 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR completed last week the relocation of a group of some 4,000 Sudanese refugees from Jammam refugee camp in South Sudan's Upper Nile State to Yusuf Batil camp some 52 kms away. The agency is set to launch more convoys this week to move another 15,000 refugees to the newly-established Gendrassa refugee camp.

A lack of potable water and worsening living conditions due to several massive influxes and torrential rains which partly flooded Jammam camp led the humanitarian community to organize the relocation of most of the refugees in Jammam to new sites. In addition to Yusuf Batil and Gendrassa camps, more contingency sites have been identified in Maban county should further movement or new arrivals require the opening of new camps. Several thousands are believed to be on their way to the border from Blue Nile, so far only a few hundreds have trickled in last week.

With Yusuf Batil reaching its maximum capacity of 34,500 refugees, water supply and hygiene promotion need to be stepped up. More water distribution points are being set up to increase daily water supply that is currently at about 13 litres per person per day. In the new Gendrassa camp set to receive new refugees in the coming days, two boreholes have been sunk and will initially be able to provide enough water for up to 10,000 people at 15 litres per day per person. A third borehole is being drilled.

We are continually concerned about the incidence of diseases, particularly bloody diarrhoea but also malaria and respiratory tract infections in the camps. Aid agencies are now expanding medical services as well as public health campaigns to ensure improved hygiene standards and early detection of disease in camps. Most of the recent arrivals reach the camps exhausted and weak. Malnutrition and mortality rates among children are extremely concerning. Wider nutrition programmes are being set up in all camps and more oral rehydration points are being set up. Cases of diarrhoea are also being closely monitored with samples regularly sent for laboratory testing. So far in July, some 400 cases of malaria have been reported in health centres in Doro and Yusuf Batil camps. UNHCR and other humanitarian actors are renewing the distribution of insecticide treated nets and key public areas are being sprayed.

Meanwhile, the number of refugees arriving in the nearby Unity State has dropped from 800 refugees per day in June to 250 people per day in July. Some 55,000 refugees still in Yida camp close to the border will remain there for the coming months as the area has been cut off by rains. Airlifts have now become the only viable means of access to the refugee site that can best be described as an "island". The hygiene and health situation in Yida remain of serious concern and humanitarian partners are deploying teams around the camp to disseminate hygiene and health messages and identify cases for immediate medical attention. A mortality survey is being conducted. Some 3/4 of the camp population have arrived in the last 3 months alone.

Upper Nile State is currently home to more than 100,000 refugees while Unity State hosts nearly 60,000. A verification exercise to ascertain the number of refugees is underway and will likely lead to adjustments to the estimates of the refugee population in the area.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Nairobi (UNHCR regional hub): Millicent Mutuli on mobile + 251 735 337608
  • In Juba: Mark Kirya on +211 922 407427 or +211 977 493000.
  • In Geneva: Andrej Mahecic on mobile +41 79 200 7617
• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

South Sudan Crisis: Urgent Appeal

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

Donate to this crisis

Displacement in South Sudan: A Camp Within a Camp

In the three weeks since South Sudan erupted in violence, an estimated 200,000 South Sudanese have found themselves displaced within their own country. Some 57,000 have sought sanctuary at bases of UN peace-keepers across the country. These photos by UNHCR's Senior Regional Public Information Officer Kitty McKinsey give a glimpse of the daily life of the 14,000 displaced people inside the UN compound known locally as Tong Ping, near the airport in Juba, South Sudan's capital. Relief agencies, including UNHCR, are rallying to bring shelter, blankets and other aid items, but in the first days, displaced people had to fend for themselves. The compounds have taken on all the trappings of small towns, with markets, kiosks, garbage collection and public bathing facilities. Amazingly, children still manage to smile and organize their own games with the simplest of materials.

Displacement in South Sudan: A Camp Within a Camp

Emergency food distribution in South Sudan's Jonglei state

Humanitarian organizations in South Sudan are working to deliver emergency assistance to some of the tens of thousands of people displaced by armed conflict in Jonglei state. Most of those uprooted have fled into the bush or have walked for days to reach villages away from the fighting. Others have journeyed even greater distances to find sanctuary in the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Gaining access to those affected in an insecure and isolated area has been a significant challenge for aid workers. Since mid-July, an airlift has been providing food supplies to families living in two previously inaccessible villages and where humanitarian agencies have established temporary bases. As part of the "cluster approach" to humanitarian emergencies, which brings together partners working in the same response sector, UNHCR is leading the protection cluster to ensure the needs of vulnerable individuals among the displaced are addressed.

Emergency food distribution in South Sudan's Jonglei state

Thousands of refugees moved before the rains hit South Sudan

Since the beginning of May, an operation has been under way in South Sudan to move more than 18,000 Sudanese refugees to a newly built camp. Six days a week, around 500 people are transported from the Jamam camp in Upper Nile state to a recently constructed site called Kaya. South Sudan's long and intense rainy season will soon begin in earnest and the operation will move the refugees from a location prone to severe flooding to one designed to remain accessible and functional during the downpours. The rains leave large areas of the country cut off by flood waters for months. Residents of Jamam are assisted to move their household belongings and are allotted a plot of land on arrival in Kaya, where UNHCR partners have established schools and medical facilities. Newly arrived refugees from Sudan are also brought to Kaya, where they are provided with relief items and shelter. UNHCR's Tim Irwin was there with his camera.

Thousands of refugees moved before the rains hit South Sudan

South Sudan: Food Security Play video

South Sudan: Food Security

Jacob is plowing 20 kilometers far from his own home town, Bor, after having to abandon it due to the ongoing fighting in South Sudan. Now in Mingkaman camp,as a displaced person, this land he plows is all he has after losing farm and cattle back home
South Sudan: Flooding Disaster Play video

South Sudan: Flooding Disaster

Nearly 100,000 people are living in cramped, overcrowded camps in Mingkaman, in Rivers State, South Sudan. Whenever it rains, tents become flooded causing already fragile sanitation conditions to worsen.
South Sudan: Rainy SeasonPlay video

South Sudan: Rainy Season

As the rainy season approaches, the humanitarian situation in South Sudan remains critical. The rains will make it more difficult to bring in aid and if conflict continues, half of South Sudan's 12 million people could be in danger of starvation by the end of this year.