Samantha Donkin speaking to Gurtong at the IOM office in Juba [©Gurtong/ Waakhe Wudu]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 11th May 2012 [Gurtong]
Samantha Donkin the IOM Information and Reporting Officer told Gurtong in an interview last Tuesday that, IOM is in agreement with the South Sudanese government to speedily repatriate the returnees by air and that the government is tasked to transport their luggage.
“The airlifting is likely to start at the end of this week. We are prepared to lift about a thousand returnees per day from Khartoum,” Samantha told Gurtong. She also reported that the border between the two countries is still closed.
She said at least 12,000 to 15,000 returnees are still stranded in Kosti waiting to be transported to South Sudan. Donkin added that IOM estimates at least 500,000 South Sudanese are still in Sudan.
She said that, so far 330,000 returnees have come home from Sudan since 2010.
Despite the interventions of humanitarian agencies in addressing hard challenges facing the returnees at Kosti way-station, Donkin said that they are still faced with welfare issues. “At the moment some of the challenges in Kosti concerns welfare…many are confused whether to return to South Sudan,” Donkin said.
The Sudanese government last week ordered for the immediate evacuation of 12,000 South Sudanese returnees stranded in Kosti within one week hence creating panic and fears among them and the Juba government officials.