South Sudan Asylum Seekers Flood into Ethiopia
GENEVA, Switzerland, May 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM has now provided transport and pre-departure medical checks for over 91,000 South Sudanese arriving in Ethiopia through the country's Pagak and Akobo-Tergol border crossing points since January 11th.
The asylum seekers, some of over 102,000 South Sudanese to seek safety in Ethiopia since conflict broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, have been moved by boat and road to the Fugnido, Leitchuor, Bonga and Kule refugee camps in Ethiopia's Gambella province.
IOM medical teams working at the border report that 95 per cent of arrivals are women and children. Many have walked for days to reach the border and are suffering from malnutrition (moderate and acute), diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, acute respiratory infections (ARI), acute febrile illnesses and pregnancy-related complications.
To date some 342 people too ill to travel by IOM boat and road transport have been airlifted by UNHCR helicopter to nearby hospitals.
As fighting between government and opposition forces continues in South Sudan, people are continuing to leave, according to IOM Ethiopia staff on the border. Ethiopia has said that it will keep its doors open to asylum seekers fleeing the conflict.