Agency predicts influx of refugees
Posted by African Press International on June 26, 2016
KEVIN J. KELLEY -1 | Jumatatu, Juni 27, 2016
A United Nations body has predicted that more refugees will stream into the country despite Kenya’s efforts to repatriate all Somali refugees by the end of the year.
World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday said an additional 45,000 South Sudanese will flee to Kenya in the coming months.
If that projection holds true, the number of people from the war-torn country seeking refuge in Kenya will have reached 102,239 since civil war erupted in December 2013.
Another 50,000 had fled to Kenya’s Kakuma camp prior to the outbreak of the conflict.
The new upsurge would come at a time when the government is planning to expedite the return of some 325,000 Somali refugees from Daadab camp to their homeland. Another 54,500 Somalis are living in Kakuma camp, which is not targeted for closure.
The Government narrowed down on Daadab refugee complex arguing that it is a breeding ground and converyer belt for terrorism, smuggling and contraband trade.
Hunger is forcing tens of thousands of South Sudanese to abandon their homeland “despite progress in the political situation,” WFP said in an update on the regional impact of the crisis in the world’s youngest state.
“Food insecurity remains a key concern throughout the country,” the agency noted.
WFP said a collapsing economy, combined with continued violence in parts of South Sudan is worsening the humanitarian situation. Most parts of the country are also experiencing “rising criminality”.
Kenya hosts the smallest share of South Sudanese who have crossed borders in search of safety and sustenance since 2013.
Ethiopia and Sudan have each admitted about 230,000 refugees and more than 206,000 have entered Uganda in the past two and a half years, the UN says.
WFP says it needs $74 million in donations in the next six months to meet the needs of all South Sudanese refugees. “Food stocks are stretched, and WFP requires immediate funds, particularly for Sudan and Uganda,” the agency reported.
The country gained independence from Sudan on July 2011 after a peace deal was signed by the late John Garang Marbior and Sudan President Omar al-Bashir in 2005, to end 21 years of civil war that began in 1983.
However, the accord allowed the South a six-year period of self-governance and then, at the end of the transition, decide on unity or secession. Garang pushed for unity but when he was killed in a helicopter crash a few months after the deal was signed, the unity option was dead and gone.
In the referendum on January 2011, 99 per cent of the Southerners voted for secession.
But another war broke out in 2013 after President Kiir sacked his Vice-President Riek Machar on suspicion of plotting a putsch.
After intervention from Kenya and the international community, the war ended after Dr Machar was reappointed in February 2016 owing to a peace deal signed by the two leaders in August 2015 for the formation of a transitional government.
That notwithstanding, there have been intermittent fighting between government forces and rebels in some parts of the country.
Editing by Philip Momanyi.
End. Nation news Kenya