Fleeing fighting and recent bombing in Sudan’s nearby Blue Nile State, hundreds of refugees have arrived in the South Sudanese county of Maban in Upper Nile State.
The Blue Nile town of Rom was bombed on 16 and 23 January, as conflict continued between the Sudan Armed Forces and Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North, increasing the number of refugees flooding into Al Fuj in Maban.
Most of the new arrivals have settled in Jamam camp, which currently hosts more than 8,000 refugees. After being registered, the refugees are supported by several international aid agencies, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Kiewa Monsur Khalifa, a mother of two, who arrived at Jamam on 10 January with her husband, said they paid a truck driver to bring them to Maban from Chali, Blue Nile. The family is waiting to be registered before receiving assistance.
Another area receiving refugees is Doro, where more than 31,000 people have settled, most along the road from Shetta town. Travelling slowing with animals, these settlers preferred to remain around Yabus stream to water their livestock.
To assess resource-sharing and other issues affecting refugees and host communities, an UNMISS team comprising the Civil Affairs, Human Rights, Child Protection and Public Information offices conducted a mission to Maban County from 18 to 21 January.
UNMISS team leader Juan Tucker said their aim was to update the situation on the ground since fighting had escalated in Blue Nile, as thousands of refugees arrived and local communities were displaced towards Bunj.
“We want to know the security situation and socio- economic issues and the relationship between host communities and the refugees,” Mr. Tucker said. “We talked to many government authorities and found out that the situation is calm. The refugees reported that bombing happened in Rom on 16 January. We also see many people are still coming into Maban. ”
He added that the continual arrival of refugees must be monitored, as experience had shown that conflict could arise over resources. Aid agencies must consider host communities when providing assistance so they will feel more kindly towards the new arrivals and tolerate them for mutual benefit.