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UN, Sudanese officials visit refugee settlement in Khartoum

October 17 - 2018 KHARTOUM
South Sudanese refugees in Sudan (AFP)
South Sudanese refugees in Sudan (AFP)

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator and the UN Refugee Agency Representative in Sudan have visited the South Sudanese refugee and host communities in Naivasha in Omdurman – which is the second largest “open area” refugee settlement in Khartoum state.

During their visit on October 9, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Gwi-Yeop Son and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Representative Noriko Yoshida were accompanied by the head of the Sudanese Commission for Refugees (CoR), Hamad Morowa and Deputy Commisioner Dr Mohamed El Sinari from the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).

The CoR Commissioner reassured that the refugees are welcome in Sudan, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported in a press release on Tuesday. “Until the time comes when you can return to South Sudan, we welcome you, and with our partners from the UN and other organizations we will continue to support you to the best of our abilities,” Morowa said.

The Commissioner referred to the ongoing campaigns to register all the South Sudanese, affirming the Government’s commitment to provide all refugees with documents.

HAC Deputy Commissioner Dr El Sinari lauded the resilience of the refugees and encouraged them to not lose hope as they are not forgotten, assuring them that Sudan will continue to support them until their plight is solved. He also asked the international community to give more attention to refugees in Sudan.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator expressed her appreciation to the Sudanese government for the long-standing generosity and support of refugees. “We will do our best to assist prioritizing the most critical needs, our goal is to enable you to help yourselves and become self-sufficient and resilient,” she told the refugee and host communities.

The UNHCR Representative expressed her appreciation to the government and local authorities for the facilitation of access and humanitarian activities, and called on the authorities to maintain sustained access.

To date, only minimal intervention has been made for refugees in “open areas”. In March 2018, around 22,650 refugees and 548 of the most in need among host community families in Naivasha received blankets and plastic sheeting from CoR and UNHCR.

This was part of a larger non-food assistance to over 10,000 households (57,346 individuals) that reached all “open area” settlements. In August 2018, Unicef provided school supplies and recreational kits benefiting 1,250 refugee children in Naivasha.

In August 2018, the Government of Sudan and humanitarian actors finalised the interagency “Khartoum Open Areas Response Plan”, covering an estimated 58,000 refugees in nine open areas to address their most critical multisectoral needs for an initial period of nine months. The Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF) recently approved $2 million for immediate needs in the “open areas”, which covers approximately 10 per cent of the $20 million total requirement for the Open Areas Response Plan.

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