UN Voices Concern on Safety of Refugees in Sudanese Border

Sudanese refugees at a food distribution site. A camp for displaced Sudanese in Yida, South Sudan became the target of bombings last week. Photo by: H. Caux / UNHCR

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees voiced its concern for the safety of 23,000 Sudanese refugees taking shelter at a camp in Yida, South Sudan, which became the target of bombings last week.

UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said the agency has been urging the refugees to relocate to safer grounds — one away from military activities — but that family ties and the presence of landmines are hampering their attempts.

“We have prepared a site for them further south in Unity state, but the refugees are reluctant to move as they are worried about family members still in Southern Kordofan and prefer to stay closer to their homes,” Fleming said.

Apart from the 60 to 200 refugees from Kordofan state arriving daily at the camp, Fleming said there are about 1,200 coming from Sudan’s Blue Nile state every day.

“We are working to move them to safer locations,” she said.

According to a report from AFP Friday (Nov. 18), the United Nations, Medair and Care International pulled out from the border after the bombings and only but a few U.S. agencies remain. The United Nations, however, claims its agencies and other partners continue to provide the refugees at the camp in Yida humanitarian assistance despite the hazards.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.