More than 200 IDPS from Sudan arrive in Wau

18 Nov 2011

More than 200 IDPS from Sudan arrive in Wau

16 November 2011 – Returning from Khartoum to their home areas in South Sudan, 205 internally displaced persons (IDPs) arrived by train today in Wau, Western Bahr El-Ghazal State.

The 68 families, who left Khartoum on 25 October, were the first of 15 groups scheduled to return from Sudan to South Sudan.

Abdul-latif Agok, a chief who was acting as coordinator for the train and state, thanked the administrations of Babanusa and Abyei for maintaining security along the way and the Jebal-Nuba Association for Development, who had provided them with bread and tahnia (sweet paste).

"The train was (also) protected by both military and police from Khartoum until the River Kiir," he said, adding that it had derailed due to bad rail conditions, but that there were no casualties.

Muhasin Awad, a nurse who was giving first aid to the passengers, said some passengers had fallen ill along the way.

"On arrival, we had 10 cases of minor sickness like diarrhea, malaria and symptoms of the common cold," she said, calling on the state government to support them until they could settle.

"We have prepared to received these people who have come from Khartoum," said Mohammed Issa, Deputy Director of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission in Wau.

His organization had coordinated with the International Organization for Migration and other agencies to assist the IDPs with both food and non-food items, and provide transport to take them to their final destinations, Mr. Issa said.

He called on the IDPS to be patient while waiting for the UNICEF verification process to finish, when they would be given provisions and taken to their home areas.

UNMISS had also helped prepare for the returnee's arrival and would be assisting with the train's return trip. "We provided water for the train to return (to Khartoum) to bring the luggage of the returnees that have arrived," said UNMISS Recovery, Reintegration and Peacebuilding Officer Bernard Brima.

Some IDPs who had been away for several years noted changes in the town. "I was surprised to see the development that has happened in Wau during the period I spent in Khartoum," said 31-year-old Natale Isaak Julu, who left Wau for Khartoum in 2005.

Ms. Julu said many IDPs in Khartoum were interested in returning but were unable due to lack of transport.

Some 14 or the returnee families were from Western Bahr El-Ghazal, 29 from Lakes and 25 from Warrap states.