News / Africa

In Uganda Camp, South Sudan Refugees Dream of Peace

  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya, Jan. 7, 2013.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda rest and await transportation from a transit center in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda await transportation from a transit center in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.

South Sudan Refugees Pour into Uganda

Philip Aleu
Diing Kon has a wish: to be able to fall asleep at night without feeling the fear that grips her gut when she hears gunfire nearby.

The mother of eight has spent her entire life in Bor, the only town in South Sudan still under rebel control after government forces recaptured Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, last week, after a bloody battle.

The next target of South Sudanese troops would be Bor, a spokesman for the army said, presaging heavy fighting in the capital of Jonglei state.

But Kon left her hometown weeks ago, when rebels overran Bor. She and her children came under fire as they crossed the Nile River by boat, leaving behind everything but each other.

They eventually ended up at the Dzaipi transit camp in northern Uganda, with "no luggage, no shoes for the children, no utensils," Kon told VOA.

The camp is around an hour's drive from the South Sudanese border town of Nimule, and around 390 kilometers from Bor.

"We are looking for a place to stay because I have never been in exile before. I don’t know where my husband is... He ran away," Kon said.

At least 32,000 South Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries to escape deadly clashes that erupted in the world's newest nation four weeks ago, the United Nations' refugee agency (UNHCR) has said.

The bulk of the refugees -- more than 23,000 -- have gone to Uganda and continue to cross into the country at the rate of around 3,000 a day.

Once in Uganda, the refugees have to be registered by the U.N. refugee agency before they can be moved to settlement camps where they can build homes, grow their own food, sell the surplus and become self-sufficient.

Philip Mabior, a school teacher from Bor, who fled the town nearly a month ago, has already been registered as a refugee.

Refugees who fled violence in South Sudan and crossed into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya in Arua district, northern Uganda, Jan. 7, 2013.Refugees who fled violence in South Sudan and crossed into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya in Arua district, northern Uganda, Jan. 7, 2013.
x
Refugees who fled violence in South Sudan and crossed into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya in Arua district, northern Uganda, Jan. 7, 2013.
Refugees who fled violence in South Sudan and crossed into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya in Arua district, northern Uganda, Jan. 7, 2013.
But at the beginning of this week, Mabior, his mother and sisters were still at the transit camp, where he described sanitary services as "very limited."

"For example, you have to line up at a four-door latrine to ease yourself. There is limited water supply. Sometimes people take a day or two without bathing," Mabior said, adding that he was

Officials from the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, are being very methodical about registering the South Sudanese who are crossing into Uganda at a rate of around 3,000 a day.

UNHCR officials told VOA they want to make sure they don't register the same refugee multiple times -- but the refugees themselves say the process is too slow, especially given the conditions at transit camps like Dzaipi.


Six days without food


Tabitha Ayen and her seven children have been at Dzaipi for six days, waiting to be registered as refugees so that they can move to a settlement camp.

Ayen said that, for the entire time she's been at the transit camp, she hasn't been given any food or water by aid agencies and she and her family have been sleeping outdoors. 

Thousands of South Sudanese who have fled the violence that broke out on Dec.15 in Juba and quickly spread around the country, staged a protest in a transit camp in northern Uganda at the weekend, demanding that the registration process be speeded up so that they can be moved to settlement camps.

In response, the Ugandan authorities set up a new transit camp, which within a day of being opened had taken in around 1,000 South Sudanese running from the violence in the world's newest nation that the United Nations said has likely claimed some 10,000 lives in four weeks, and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

People continued to flee the country in their droves, even as representatives for the two main protagonists in the fighting -- President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar -- met in Addis Ababa to try to resolve the conflict.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid