UN aid workers join assessment team in southern Sudan in wake of rebel attacks

27 July 2009
Refugees who fled rebel LRA attacks fetch water at the Makpandu refugee camp in southern Sudan

United Nations humanitarian workers have taken part in a joint assessment mission in a border area of southern Sudan where hundreds of people have fled recent attacks by the notorious rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

A team comprising representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other UN aid partners, visited two camps last week in Western Equatoria state that are home to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The assessment team is trying to determine how best to assist the displaced people in the region before next month’s expected start of the rainy season, when it will become much more difficult for aid workers to operate.

The refugee camps at Ezo and Source Yubu, both close to the Sudanese border with the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), have had a sudden influx from people fleeing attacks by the LRA.

The northern Ugandan rebel group has launched attacks in neighbouring DRC, CAR and southern Sudan over the past year, including one earlier this month at Ezo.

UNHCR reported that Ezo was not directly targeted in the attack, but the nearby gunfire and artillery fire as Sudanese military forces responded sent residents into a panic.

Residents of both Ezo and Source Yubu told assessment team members that they did not want to relocate at the moment, and the imminent rainy season means any move may now not be for months.

Local authorities have promised to ensure security at the settlements, while UNHCR said it would continue to monitor the situation and provide aid.

 

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