IOM Ethiopia Relocates 42,000 South Sudanese Refugees in Two Weeks

By International Office of Migration (IOM)

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 26, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM has transported some 41,978 South Sudanese refugees from camps in Leitchour and Nip Nip to Jewi camp in Ethiopia's Gambella province in just two weeks.

The operation, which involved 443 buses, 86 trucks, and a helicopter, moved 39,563 refugees from Leitchour and 2,226 from Nip Nip to Jewi. Some 189 vulnerable refugees unfit to travel by road made the journey in a helicopter provided by UNHCR. The largest convoy last week consisted of 71 buses and 10 trucks carrying some 4,526 refugees.

Since the conflict broke out in neighbouring South Sudan in December 2013, the total number of South Sudanese refugees IOM has relocated from Ethiopian border crossing points in Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz to camps on higher ground that are less prone to flooding has now reached 233,178.

The current camp-to-camp relocation which started on 8 May, followed months of planning and preparation by IOM, Ethiopia's Administration for Refugees and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and UNHCR.

Since the conflict broke out, the total number of South Sudanese refugees crossing into neighbouring countries has passed 551,636. Ethiopia has received the highest number of refugees with a total of over 208,177. With no sign of an end to the conflict in South Sudan, refugees continue to arrive.