UNHCR and partners relocate refugees in Upper Nile

18 Jun 2013

UNHCR and partners relocate refugees in Upper Nile

17 June 17 2013 - An operation to relocate more than 18,000 refugees from a flood-prone camp in Upper Nile to a new site has been successfully completed ahead of schedule, according to a statement released today by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

For the past six weeks, UNHCR and partners have been organizing daily convoys to move families and their belongings – an average of more than 600 people -- from Jamam camp to the recently constructed Kaya settlement.

The last convoy of the operation left the UNHCR transit centre near Jamam on 15 June carrying 650 people. Jamam, which last year experienced extensive flooding during the rainy season, is now empty.

It was originally estimated that the operation would take until the end of June to complete but cooperation among teams on the ground and favourable weather conditions allowed organizers to finish the move ahead of schedule.

"The success of this operation shows what can be achieved when different organizations work together with a common goal – to improve the lives of refugees," said Adan Ilmi, UNHCR Head of Office in Maban Country.

The Kaya camp has already taken on the appearance of a long established site. Children are attending school, health facilities are operating and small shops have been established by some refugee families.

Samam Yasine moved to Kaya with her six children earlier this month. After fleeing fighting in her village in Sudan in January 2012, she lived for more than a year in Jamam. She had heard conditions in Kaya were good and was pleased that her daughter would be able to attend school, she said.

New refugees are also being brought to Kaya, where they are provided with shelter and other aid supplies. The first monthly distribution of food rations took place in Kaya earlier this month.

New pre-fabricated timber shelters, which replace existing tents and provide better protection, are also being issued to families in the camp.

The completion of the camp relocation comes days ahead of World Refugee Day on 20 June. The theme for this year's commemoration is "1 Family Torn Apart by War Is Too Many".

The UNHCR's partners for the move included ACTED, International Mercy Corps, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Lutheran World Federation and the World Food Programme.