UNHCR: New camp for Sudanese refugees in Unity

The United Nations Refugee Agency in South Sudan opened a new camp in Unity on Thursday, to provide services to Sudanese refugees.

The United Nations Refugee Agency opened a new camp at Pamir on Thursday to provide services to Sudanese refugees relocating from the Yida settlement and the Nuba Mountains.

The camp is expected to hold 20,000 people, and holds a primary school, health care centre, and a solar powered drinking station.

There are two other refugee camps in northern Unity state – Yida, and Ajuong Thok – which combine hold more than 100,000 people. The latter camp received some 10,000 new arrivals from South Kordofan in first eight months of 2016 as well as more than 4,400 refugees who had previously registered in Yida. 

The agency planned to close Yida in June, and started a registration process for the relocation of the more than 70,000 camp residents. On 14 April, hundreds of refugees rallied in front of the UNHCR in Unity state against the planned shutdown of Yida camp and the pressure by the aid agencies they experienced to move to other camps.

According to UNHCR and the South Sudanese government, Yida has never been officially recognised as refugee camp.

New camp

“With Ajuong Thok at full capacity, we had no option but opening a new camp,” UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner George Okoth-Obbo said on Thursday.

“Our aim is to ensure that refugees access to quality services according to international standards, but our long-term strategy is to provide them with the tools and means that enable them to become more self-reliant and less dependent on humanitarian assistance,” Okoth-Obbo said. “This means boosting education, investing in agriculture and skill development opportunities.”

UNHCR says that additional contributions will be required to extend development of Pamir to its full intended capacity of 52,000.

The development of Pamir camp was made possible by funds from Canada, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Educate a Child Initiative, ECHO, Germany and the United States.


Aid scaled-down for Sudanese refugees in South Sudan's Yida camp (3 May 2016)

UNHCR starts moving 70,000 Sudanese refugees from Yida (8 April 2016)