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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid