A million returnees expected in Upper Nile

27 Feb 2012

A million returnees expected in Upper Nile

24 February 2012 - About a million returnees expected to leave Sudan in April by road would pass through his state, Upper Nile Deputy Governor Andrea Maya said today in a meeting with a top UNMISS official.

With ongoing insecurity along the Sudan/South Sudan border, the only viable route for returnees was through Kosti to Renk and then on to the Upper Nile capital of Malakal, the deputy governor told UNMISS Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Raisedon Zenenga, who was on a one-day visit to the state.

Mr. Maya noted that 8 April was the deadline set for South Sudanese living in Sudan to legalize their status or leave the country.

"Most of the South Sudanese living in Sudan would not be able to regularize their legal status before the deadline of 8 April ... and would opt to leave for South Sudan," he said.

The deputy governor added that receiving such a huge number of returnees would challenge the state, as a humanitarian crisis already existed with returnees on the ground.

He observed that about 80,000 refugees from Blue Nile State (Sudan) were currently residing in Maban County of Upper Nile and more were expected to arrive.
Mr. Maya appealed for more humanitarian assistance in helping reintegrate returnees who chose to settle in the state.

"I call upon the UN family and humanitarian partners to assist with the transportation of returnees, and to provide them with basic needs such as shelter, food, water and medical facilities upon their arrival," he said.

DSRSG Zenenga said the International Organization for Migration in collaboration with other UN agencies was ready to support returning South Sudanese.

"The mission is developing decentralized structures, the County Support Bases (CSBs), that would allow the UN and partners to deliver services and assistance effectively," Mr. Zenenga said.

The DSRSG also traveled to Melut County, where he met its commissioner, Frances Ayul Nyok, and UNMISS staff at the Melut CSB.

Commissioner Nyok informed Mr. Zanenga that state and county authorities had reinforced security around oil installations in the county, following a 13 February incident when 23 oil wells and installations were either vandalized or robbed.