The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have sustained efforts to provide lifesaving transportation assistance for thousands of South Sudanese Asylum seekers arriving at Nadapal, the Kenya-South Sudan border.
Thousands have been displaced by the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan since conflict broke out in mid-December 2013 and have been forced to seek asylum in neighbouring Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya.
As at 16 March 2014, IOM and UNHCR had received 27,279 refugees through Nadapal and provided onward transportation to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana County, North Western Kenya about 150 Kilometres from the border point.
An average of 400 persons arrive daily either on foot, by hired trucks and buses, carrying their belongings. Women and children make up 80 per cent of the arrivals, with many of them walking for 3-4 days to reach the border point.
IOM and UNHCR are operating a daily convoy that currently comprises of four buses, three trucks and three lightweight vehicles accompanied by an ambulance and security escort. These are used to transport the refugees and their luggage to Kakuma Refugee Camp.
The Government of Kenya, through the Immigration and Department of Refugee Affairs is responsible for the reception and registration of the refugees at the border. They are provided with high energy biscuits and water and those in need of medical attention are attended to by MSF Belgium which has a temporary health post at the border. They are later issued with ration cards when they arrive at Kakuma Reception Centre which will enable them receive food, Non Food Items (NFI’s) and shelter at the Camp.
“The operation is now at a full capacity, however, we are now planning around the possibility of an increased number of arriving refugees,” said IOM’s senior operations officer, Ahmed Maher.
“We have worked closely with partners to ensure that all new arrivals are received and transported to the camp in safety and dignity,” said UNHCR’s Senior Field Officer and convoy co-ordinator, Tamba Amara.
In early March, The UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) provided USD 4.6 million to help meet the urgent needs of the refugees. The funds are being utilized to provide water, food, sanitation and shelter, as well as to provide child protection.