Relocation of S. Sudan refugees in Ethiopia to 'take time'

Suleiman Momodu, spokesman for the UNHCR's Gambella office, said that 15,000 South Sudanese refugees would eventually be relocated due to heavy rains.

Relocation of S. Sudan refugees in Ethiopia to 'take time'

World Bulletin/News Desk

The UN's refugee agency has said the relocation of South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia's southwestern Gambella region would take some time.

Suleiman Momodu, spokesman for the UNHCR's Gambella office, said that 15,000 South Sudanese refugees would eventually be relocated due to heavy rains.

"[But] the transit station and the area in which they were supposed to settle in were suddenly flooded," he told The Anadolu Agency.

"It may take some months to move all the refugees because we relocate [them voluntarily] – we do not force them at all," he said.

"We believe they will all be convinced to move to the new settlement site because it is much farther away from the border [with South Sudan, where the risk of flooding is greater]," he added.

Momodu said that, so far, only 300 of Gambella's 15,000 refugees had been relocated.

More than 191,000 South Sudanese refugees have crossed into Ethiopia's Gambella Region since the start of the conflict in South Sudan almost one year ago.

According to estimates, some 100 refugees cross into Ethiopian territory every day from war-torn South Sudan.

Ethiopia currently hosts more than 600,000 refugees, making it Africa's largest host nation for refugees.

In Addis Ababa earlier this month, heads of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an East African regional bloc, gave South Sudan's warring parties 15 days to discuss a proposed power-sharing deal with their respective leaders.

Last Mod: 20 Kasım 2014, 13:25
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