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New influx of S. Sudanese refugees into Gambella region: ECHO

December 28, 2019 (GAMBELLA) - Localised clashes between armed forces in South Sudan’s Maiwut State have led to a new influx of refugees into Ethiopia’s Gambella region, a new report indicates.

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Transitional shelters for South Sudanese Refugees in Gambella, Ethiopia (IOM Photo)

The European Commission for Humanitarian Aid Operations, (ECHO) said since November, over 3600 refugees, including unaccompanied or separated minors, have arrived in Pamdong reception centre, which is now hosting around 4000 refugees.

Due to the refugee influx, the governmental Administration for Refugee & Returnee Affairs (ARRA) reportedly suspended the registration of new refugees, limiting their access to basic services.

“Many newcomers do not want to be relocated in Assossa (Gure Shembole camp). This due to the remoteness of the camp, the willingness to remain closer to their places of origin, and the lack of social networks and traditional livelihood opportunities for South Sudanese refugees,” ECHO said in the new report.

In addition, the current security situation is not conducive for road transfers from Gambella to Assossa, further noted the aid agency.

Meanwhile ECHO’s partners have reportedly scaled up their humanitarian response in Pamdong, but major funding gaps remain across all sectors.

South Sudanese remain the largest refugee population in Ethiopia, totaling 320,957 persons as of end November 2019, with 32% of the refugee population living in Pamdong being children below 4 years.