Over 4,800 South Sudanese Refugees Moved to New Camp in Gambella, Ethiopia

Posted: 
02/17/17
Region-Country: 
Africa and Middle East / Ethiopia
Themes: 
Refugee and Asylum Issues

Ethiopia - IOM last week (9/2) transported 816 South Sudanese refugees from the Pagak entry point on the South Sudan-Ethiopia border to the new Nguenyyiel refugee camp in Gambella Region, Ethiopia, bringing the total number of refugees moved since the beginning of 2017 to 4,833.

This latest movement was part of IOM’s an operation designed to move newly arrived South Sudanese refugees to places of safety in an organized and dignified manner. IOM medical escorts accompanied the refugees and provided drinking water and food for the trip. Some 95 buses, carrying a total of 1,436 families, have been used in these movements.

“We are happy to be going to the camp – we can get help there,” said Nyawech, a South Sudanese refugee travelling with her four daughters and several grandchildren. “Fighting came to our village [in South Sudan] so we walked day and night for one week to get here,” she added, before boarding the bus. Insecurity, severe food shortages, and searing temperatures in South Sudan mean a perilous journey for the refugees who travel to Pagak.

Gambella already hosts some 330,211 refugees from South Sudan, due to the ongoing conflict in the country, which continues to displace people inside the country and force them into neighbouring countries. Ethiopia is currently the second largest receiving country for refugees from South Sudan, the vast majority of whom have found shelter in Gambella.

The day before refugees board the bus, IOM medical teams conduct medical screenings to ensure that they are physically able to make the journey. Those refugees for whom the journey may be too difficult due to health problems are referred to IOM’s medical partners working in Pagak. Alternative transportation is then provided at a later date. The most common medical conditions are acute diarrhoea in children and complications related to pregnancies.

“IOM will continue to ensure the safe and dignified movement of South Sudanese refugees in Gambella to places where they can get the help they need, as part of our comprehensive efforts to manage the ongoing influx,” said Miriam Mutalu, IOM Head of Sub-Office in Gambella.

IOM’s transportation services for refugees in Gambella are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and UNHCR. The movements are carried out in partnership with the Ethiopian Government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA).

For further information, please contact Miriam Mutalu at IOM Gambella, Tel: +251 94 6692 501, Email: mmutalu@iom.int