The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Wednesday called on the international community to prioritise support to South Sudan to tackle the influx of returnees and asylum seekers fleeing conflict in Sudan as the country hit a dire milestone of 100,000 new arrivals.
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operation, Raouf Mazou, said since the start of the conflict in Sudan in mid-April, thousands of people have fled across the border daily to South Sudan, the majority of whom are South Sudanese returnees who are now coming back to the country they had once been forced to flee.
Mazou said the returnees are arriving alongside refugees from Sudan and various other nationalities who South Sudan has generously welcomed.
“The South Sudan situation is unique, the vast majority of people arriving are South Sudanese who are coming back to their country of origin, compelled by circumstances, returning to communities that are still impacted by insecurity, with very limited services and infrastructures.
“Many families told us they are eager to reach home communities while also worried about what they will find when they get there,” Mazou told journalists in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, following a visit to the country to assess the situation of returnees and refugees.
He stressed that the majority of those fleeing the violence are arriving after long, difficult journeys in remote towns like Renk in Upper Nile State, where prices of basic items have skyrocketed as many goods remain scarce in the northern part of the country, further complicating the situation for the tens of thousands still stuck in those areas. —Xinhua