Hunger threatens returnees, refugees in South Sudan

Flooded Lankien airstrip, Nyirol County, in November 2019. @UNICEFSouthSudan/Ryeng

Close to 3,800 returnees and refugees who arrived from Sudan to Jonglei’s Nyirol County are living in harsh humanitarian conditions, local officials and returnees said.

 “Since June 2, we received 3,643 South Sudanese returnees and 230 refugees because of the ongoing war in Sudan. The refugees are currently in Chuil Payam while returnees are in different parts of the county, especially Langkien town,” Biel Jiek Lual, the county information director, told Radio Tamazuj.

The county official said the situation of the new arrivals is dire.

“They lack food and shelter. Some returnees had to integrate into the community while about 32 refugees left for the state capital, Bor,” he said. “The refugees are mainly Ethiopians and Sudanese.”

Gatkuoth Dual, the county Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) coordinator, also decried the humanitarian situation and appealed for intervention.

“We received 3,643 returnees and 230 refugees two weeks ago. Most of these people are in Chuil and Thol payams without food and shelter, so we appeal to the aid agencies to come to their aid,” he said.

One returnee, Gatjath Bol, said they had no food since arrival.

“We crossed the border from Renk after fleeing the war in Khartoum. The problem now at home is that we are going hungry,” he said. “So we really appeal to our government for help.”

Thousands of refugees and returnees have been crossing the border into South Sudan since war erupted in Sudan between the Sudanese rival military factions on April 15.

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