Thousands of returnees in Unity State are staring hunger in their face

By Chondok Stephen Magei

After years of living in squalid refugee camps in countries neighboring South Sudan, thousands of returnees displaced by conflict are staring hunger in the face due to failed crops caused by flash floods.

Nyanuba Kuneng, a 22 –year old woman who arrived this week in Lalop boma of Budang Payam this week, says that they are facing severe food shortages and inadequate shelter.

She is among 2,500 returnees who recently arrived in the Northern Unity State.

“I have just arrived this week in Lalop boma, and the Payam administrator allocated land for us to settle, but we are suffering from hunger and starvation which may lead to malnutrition of children, I came with little money and it got finished within two days,” Kuneng told Juba Echo in Lalop area on Friday.

Over two million people were displaced both internally and externally following eruption of conflict in December 2013.

Many of the displaced people relocated to neighboring Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Majority of them have since started returning since the signing of the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

  “We saw humanitarian convoy yesterday, but we were not aware of their mission, they just looked at us and they met with the Payam administrator. We are in dire need of food and shelter,” said Kuneng.

Pazor Marieh Kor, the Budang Payam Administrator, and the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRC) confirmed reaching agreement with humanitarian agencies to deliver food assistance and materials for sheltering these returnees.

“We discussed with humanitarian agencies on the needs of returnees who arrived this week from Sudan, but they said assessment team will come next week and agreed to provide food after verifications, we also discussed about temporary health facilities and schools,”  said Marieh.

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