IOM Prepares Airlift of South Sudanese Stranded in Kosti

IOM yesterday (3/5) received confirmation from the Government of
Sudan that it will facilitate an IOM airlift from Khartoum to Juba
of 12–15,000 South Sudanese currently stranded in Kosti, 200
kms south of the capital.

The South Sudanese, many of whom have been in Kosti for months
waiting for transport to South Sudan, will travel by bus to
Khartoum and then board IOM charter flights to Juba, the South
Sudan capital. IOM is currently developing an operational plan to
start the movements as soon as possible. 

The Government of South Sudan has agreed to assist the process
by facilitating emergency travel documentation and making
arrangements for moving excess baggage – a major undertaking
given that each returnee will be limited to 20kgs of luggage on the
charter flights. 

“This is the best solution for all concerned and we are
grateful to the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan for their
cooperation and support in ensuring that the South Sudanese in
Kosti can now move to South Sudan in safety and dignity,”
said IOM Sudan Chief of Mission Jill Helke.  

The Government of Sudan also assured IOM that an earlier
deadline imposed by the White Nile State authorities requiring the
South Sudanese and international agencies to leave Kosti by May
20th would not be enforced, given that a firm departure plan was
now in place. 

“The Government and people of White Nile State have been
hosting successive groups of South Sudanese for more than a year in
a place not designed for such large numbers of people. This
decision will address their concerns and provide a solution for the
thousands of South Sudanese who have been extremely worried about
their future in Kosti,” says Helke. 

IOM recommended the airlift option from Khartoum to Juba for
logistical reasons. An alternative plan to move people by bus from
Kosti to Renk inside South Sudan and then on to Juba was rejected
on the grounds that Renk is already hosting over 17,000 returnees
and transit facilities and services are overstretched. 

For more information, please contact: 

Jill Helke

IOM Sudan

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Filiz Demir

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Elizabeth Whitaker

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