DR Congo + 1 more

UNMIS Southern Sudan News Bulletin - Oct 2008

News and Press Release
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- Congolese refugees flee to Southern Sudan

- Southern Sudan holds referendum debate

- Polio vaccination targets over two million children

- Swedish Agency to clear Abyei of Explosive Remains ahead of expected return

- Plans finalized for distribution of DDR campaign radios

Sector I - Juba

Congolese refugees flee to Southern Sudan

A renewed influx of Congolese refugees was reported in Western Equatoria State (WES), following new attacks by the LRA in Duru, DRC in mid-October. Out of five locations in Western Equatoria State, where new Congolese refugees have settled, UNHCR has completed verification of 3,131 in Sakure (562), Gangura (1,742), Ukou (390) and Madebe (437).

Verification has not yet been carried out in James Diko due to the LRA proximity and extremely difficult access. The verification in Yambio town was suspended as the majority of Congolese there are believed to be long-term businessmen. A 15-day food ration has been distributed to the refugees in Sakure, Gangura and Madebe and the distribution of non-food items is also complete. The Congolese influx into WES has so far been managed by the deployment of an emergency team, in collaboration with the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC), UNICEF, Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) and World Vision.

Southern Sudan holds referendum debate

The first ever public forum about Sudan's 2011 referendum - on whether Southern Sudan should secede or continue in one country with the north - was held at the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly in Juba on 27 October. Organized by the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) Ministry of Presidential Affairs, the high-profile event was attended by representatives of the GoSS and Government of National Unity, the UN, southern political parties, and civil society.

In his opening remarks, President of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir called the event a "historic step" in preparing for the referendum. "It (the referendum) is what other generations have talked about, some of whom are no longer with us now," he said. Topics covered in the discussions included international experience with referendums, challenges and opportunities, conducting the referendum and post-referendum challenges.

Flooding continues to displace people in Maban

Preliminary findings of a joint rapid assessment have revealed that at least 44,700 people (8,840 households) have been affected by floods in Maban county. The assessment was carried out from 25 to 31 October by the SSRRC, Oxfam GB, Medair, World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF, with Coordination support from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The most affected areas are Bounj, Banasowa, Khor El Ahmar, Ginkuota and Ginmagda Payams. However the number of affected people could be much higher, as the assessment team could not access other areas due to the floods and security considerations.

An emergency planning team of UN organizations, NGOs and government agencies is working hard to deliver humanitarian assistance to the affected people as quickly as possible.