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KHARTOUM - 7 Apr 2014

Fire guts Azhari camp for South Sudanese in Khartoum

An extensive fire gutted a camp for stranded South Sudanese nationals in Khartoum last week, resulting in the loss of property and leaving many needy people more desperate, according to sources.

Nearly 5,000 South Sudanese living in the Khartoum suburb Al Azhari, some of them for many years, are reporting deteriorating humanitarian conditions after the fire consumed all their property and shelter leaving them empty handed.  

Stephen Lual Ngor, a South Sudanese rights activist emphasized the need for the transportation of the trapped households by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission back to South Sudan as soon as possible.

He noted about 42,000 South Sudanese nationals are currently living in an open area in the south of Khartoum and still waiting for their transportation to South Sudan by the authorities concerned.

“Khartoum is now hosting 32 camps for stranded South Sudanese citizens,” he explained. He called on the SSRRC and South Sudan embassy in Khartoum to transport the suffering families and provide them full security on the crossing points so as to ensure their safe arrival to their homeland.

Tens of thousands of South Sudanese returned from Khartoum and other parts of north Sudan to their new country both before and after independence in 2011. In many cases they were aided by the International Organization for Migration, which facilitated returns by road, train, air and boat.

However, some southerners remained behind, while the trend has now reversed yet again with thousands more South Sudanese crossing into Sudan since the start of conflict in Juba and other states of the south in December 2013.

File photo: A South Sudanese refugee girl and her mother stand outside a make-shift hut at the Dar es Salaam refugee camp, Khartoum, 28 June 2012 (AFP)