JUBA, South Sudan – 26 September (UNHCR) – UNHCR began the relocation of 2,143 vulnerable Sudanese refugees on Wednesday from Central Equatoria’s Yei town to the nearby Lasu settlement. Among them are many single mothers who approached UNHCR earlier this year seeking assistance, as they could no longer cope with the cost of living in Yei.
“Extreme poverty and a worsening economic situation have exposed many of these refugees to serious protection risks,” says Isabelle Misic, UNHCR Assistant Representative on Protection in South Sudan. “Our roles is to protect them from resorting to negative copying mechanisms, either because they are unable to pay for their rent, cover the costs of their children’s basic education or health care.”
Upon arrival in the settlement, refugees have received food, a kit of items for domestic use as well as tools and a plot of land on which to build their houses. Lactating mothers were accommodated in a special transit facility to help keep their babies as healthy as possible. “Gradually, we will integrate this group of refugees in all existing services and assistance programmes available in the settlement, including shelter, food, water, health care and education”, says Misic.
While 644 refugees were relocated so far to Lasu in coordination with the Commission for Refugee Affairs, ACROSS and the local authorities, the relocation operation will continue in the coming weeks to transfer the remaining 1,499 refugees.
“We appreciate the hospitality and generosity of Lasu Payam’s authorities and people who are welcoming and hosting these most needy refugees as part of their community”, says Misic.
Home to some 8,300 refugees, Lasu settlement was established in 2009 to provide sanctuary to Congolese refugees fleeing the violence from the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is one of South Sudan’s ten refugee camps and settlements, which currently host 265,235 refugees as a whole.