This month IOM Ethiopia has relocated some 12,763 South Sudanese refugees from a transit site at the Pagak border entry point to Jewi, Tierkidi and Kule camps in Gambella region.
“The situation in South Sudan is not getting better. It is getting worse,” Mohammed Abdiker, IOM chief of Operations and Emergencies, said on Tuesday. He added refugees now are entering Ethiopia at a rate of 1,000 per day, and that IOM recently allocated USD 400,000 to help manage the flow, funds he did not expect to last more than two weeks during the emergency.
The refugees are among thousands crossing into Gambella to escape the ongoing conflict in South Sudan. According to UNHCR, a total of 27,352 refugees have entered Gambella from South Sudan since September 3rd.
IOM deployed 236 buses to relocate the 4,690 households between 9 and 26 September. Some 7,618 of the refugees were moved to Tierkidi, 4,556 to Jewi and 589 to Kule. During September 25-26 alone IOM moved 2,818 individuals to decongest the Pagak transit centre.
“While it is too early to say for certain how many people will need onward transport this time around, all indications are that if the inflows from South Sudan continue at the current rate for another couple of weeks, we will be faced with humanitarian needs that far outstrip existing facilities and exceed our available resources,” said IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission Maureen Achieng.
The influx of new arrivals has also put strains on existing accommodation. IOM constructed 400 emergency shelters for families relocated to Jewi camp on 20th September.
Since the conflict erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, IOM Ethiopia has assisted over 260,000 South Sudanese refugees with accommodation, shelter and relocation, including medical escorts, to Pugnido, Leitchuor, Bonga, Tierkedi, Kule, Leitchour, Jewi and Nip Nip camps.