By Oketayot Santo
The Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management said Monday that they have opened a new refugee camp in northern Bahr Ghazal to accommodate asylum seekers who fled the conflict in Sudan.
Addressing a press conference in Juba at the ministries complex, Albino Akol Atak said the Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State Tong Aken Ngor has allocated a 5 by 10 km land located at Wetwil near Aweil town which will accommodate the refugees as well as small farming for the livelihood of the refugees.
Akol said Northern Bahr el Ghazal received around 7,500 asylum seekers from Sudanese towns including, El Fashir, Nyala, El Obeid among others and so they decided to allocate a land to settle them as refugees.
“The area is just near Aweil town, the place is a very big area which was provided by the governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal for these refugees to be settled there” Akol said.
He said they are now coordinating with humanitarian partners on the ground to start relocating the refugees from the reception center in Kiir-Adem area near the border with Sudan to the new refugee camp.
“So we have now directed our officials there, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) and the Refugees Commission plus our partners that are there to relocate these people from Kiir-Adem which is very far from the town of Aweil to the area which was given by the governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal closer to Aweil town” Akol stressed.
He revealed that UN agencies including the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is working to provide shelter for the asylum seekers, World Food Program (WFP) to provide food assistance and International Organization for Migration (IOM) to transport the asylum seekers to the new refugee camp.
According to the Minister, South Sudan has received about 70,000 returnees and asylum seekers including Sudanese, Eritreans, Ugandans, and Kenyans among others since April when the conflict broke out in Sudan.
He revealed that they will not open internally displaced camps for South Sudanese returnees but will transport them to their home areas.
He stressed that the asylum seekers and returnees are living in very appalling situation with no shelters, food, water and basic services.