The Caritas Archdiocese of Juba has helped to transport one hundred households of refugees and returnees who were stuck in Malakal to their destination.
About 5.3 million people have fled their homes and sought asylum in Sudan or its neighboring countries as a result of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has now lasted for five months since April.
The International Organisation for Migration's Displacement Tracking Matrix indicated that as of September 19, more than 4.2 million individuals had been relocated to 3,929 places spread across all 18 states.
South Sudan, which was already dealing with some of the greatest levels of displaced persons and humanitarian needs in the world, has already seen more than 170,000 people flood into the country.
Caritas Archdiocese of Juba transferred more than forty-two (42) returnees and refugees who were stuck in Malakal for three weeks after crossing the border from Sudan.
Charles Leju Gabriel, an Admin Manager for Caritas South Sudan, Arch Diocese of Juba said that Caritas Archdiocese of Juba, said: “Most of the people they will transport are vulnerable like women with children, elderly people, sick people, and women who are the head of the house.”
“The second batch of the returnees and refugees was expected to arrive in Juba on Wednesday or Thursday unfortunately the flight failed due to heavy rain," he said.
“According to the plan we are supposed to receive 100 individuals from Malakal, however, we only received forty-two because of the flight, the rest we expect to arrive tomorrow and next tomorrow, “the Admin Manager stated.
Gabriel reaffirmed that Caritas South Sudan will keep assisting the returnees who are unable to reach their family in Juba and other districts of South Sudan because of transportation issues.
The admin manager urges other Humanitarian partners to intervene and help people who are returning from Sudan to reintegrate with their people in South Sudan.
Responses from the victims
Some of the returnees shared their experiences and claimed that they had challenges on their way, particularly with the long process of registration which went on for about three weeks.
One of the returnees who fled Sudan on 2nd September said they faced challenges during their journey, especially the registration that took almost three weeks.
Majwok Dominic said, “The journey was very difficult because the registration was very slow which made me spend three weeks, but when I found Caritas, it was very easy I want to thank the Church and Caritas for helping me and my family to arrive”.
“Many of my friends are still stranded in Malakal without their properties but also need to reunite with their families in Juba,” Majwok added.
He therefore pleaded with the government to intervene in their situation.
“I want the Government to help our people because there are many people there in Malakal, they need to travel to Juba because they lost everything, Majwok pleaded.”
Susan another returnee, stated that the trip was stressful and that she was left stranded at Juba International Airport when communications with her family in Juba stopped working.
Caritas is one of the Catholic organizations working with various partners to aid their projects, such as support to offer shelter, water, capacity building, sanitation and hygiene promotion, health/nutrition, and protection across the nation.
The mission of Caritas South Sudan states “Caritas mission is committed to serve the human person in love and dignity, in solidarity with the poor and underprivileged.”
It also spelled out that, “Our work is grounded in Catholic Social Teaching, which stresses the dignity of the human person regardless of culture, ethnicity, gender or religion. This belief in the unity and diversity of humankind is the basic value we bring to what we do”.
The violence in South Sudan
The large numbers of South Sudanese who left prior conflict in their own nation are now returning, resulting in what is essentially a vast, unorganized, and spontaneous repatriation movement in South Sudan.
However, the reaction has not been enough, is appallingly underfunded, and continues to place too much emphasis on forward movement from transportation hubs close to the border.
In order to better combine providing immediate relief with risk avoidance and long-term development of places of return, a modified repatriation plan that incorporates past lessons is required.