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South Sudan: UNHCR launches $56.1 million appeal

Briefing notes

South Sudan: UNHCR launches $56.1 million appeal

6 March 2007

Today, we are launching a US$56.1 million appeal for our operations in south Sudan to help tens of thousands of southern Sudanese refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) return home and reintegrate in their communities.

The funds are needed to boost the ongoing voluntary repatriation programme to assist the return from nearby countries of more than 100,000 refugees this year; to help 25,000 internally displaced people return home; to provide returnees with reintegration packages; to rehabilitate health clinics and schools; and to improve shelter and sanitation.

The appeal acknowledges returnees face considerable challenges and that major efforts are needed to ensure the return is sustainable. It says that despite considerable achievements during the past two years, many receiving communities are still struggling to absorb returnees. This is largely due to the destruction and poor state of infrastructure and basic services in the war-affected areas of return.

Since a peace deal was signed in January 2005 between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLA), an estimated 102,000 refugees have returned home, including 32,400 with UNHCR's organised repatriation programme. An estimated 850,000 IDPs also returned to south Sudan, mostly using their own means. Thousands more are expected to return in 2007.

Conditions in return areas, including security, water, health and education are major factors for refugees and IDPs deciding to return home. As part of the joint UN work programme for 2007, UNHCR plans to rehabilitate and construct 65 boreholes, and to rehabilitate 60 health clinics and 30 schools in areas of high refugee return.

Last year, UNHCR received over $US 63 million for its south Sudan operations.

In a separate but related development today, we resumed the voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees living in settlements in north-west Uganda after a halt since mid-January following an outbreak of meningitis. The disease has now been contained.

A 13-truck convoy transporting some 300 refugees left Imvepi settlement in Arua district for Yei in Central Equatoria, southern Sudan - a journey of about 200 km. Imvepi hosts 23,000 Sudanese refugees.

Before the suspension, UNHCR had helped 5,750 Sudanese refugees living in settlements in Arua, Adjumani, Yumbe and Moyo districts of northern Uganda return to south Sudan. Some 221,000 refugees are assisted by UNHCR in Uganda, including 171,000 Sudanese refugees.