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KOSTI - 17 Apr 2013

IOM: 230,000 South Sudanese still to return from Sudan

The International Organisation for Migration has reported that there are an estimated 230,000 South Sudanese still living in Sudan who have expressed a desire to return to South Sudan.

Matt Graydon, the organisation’s Information and Reporting Officer, told Radio Tamazuj in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that there is a pressing humanitarian case for 40,000 people who are still living in makeshift shelters in open areas of Khartoum.

In Kosti 3500 people destined for Northern and Western Bahr el-Ghazal states are stranded while another 20,000 people who have reached South Sudan are stranded, scattered in camps around Renk which is not their final destination. 

Graydon says that preparations are underway to have these people returned by air, road and water.  However, while the recent improvements in the political situation between the two states have improved allowing better cross-border movement, the border is not secure enough to carry out large-scale repatriation.

The spokesperson confirmed IOM’s commitment to providing support as long as funding and circumstances allow.

“We will certainly work with the government and assist the people although their situation is very serious,” he added.

IOM, in partnership with the Government of South Sudan, is focusing on airlifting particularly vulnerable who may not be able to make the long journey by road or river.

Plans also are underway to transfer luggage that was left behind by some of those who were previously transported to their destinations.

A number of South Sudanese living in South Darfur have called upon the government of South Sudan to also make efforts to repatriate them. IOM in South Sudan has reported that their office in Khartoum is looking into the issue.

Radio Tamazuj photo: Matt Graydon, IOM Information and Reporting Officer