Ethiopia: 2017 End of Year Report – December – 2017 South Sudan – Regional RRP – Ethiopia

by Zelalem






The South Sudanese are the largest refugee population in Ethiopia, totalling 421,867 persons at the close of 2017. Ethiopia recognizes arriving South Sudanese as refugees prima facie, and maintains an open border policy for persons fleeing persecution or armed conflict, having hosted successive waves of arrivals, and assisted subsequent voluntary repatriations, of South Sudanese over recent decades.
Renewed violence in Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity States; that increasingly impacted border areas, has resulted in 75,447 new arrivals seeking asylum in 2017.

A total of 3,154 refugees were relocated in 15 convoys covering a distance of 844km from the Pagak Entry Point to Gure Shembola Camp in the Beneshangul Gumuz Region. Although a modest number of new arrivals have been relocated to the Benishangul-Gumuz Region to ease the pressure on Gambella, the trend of new arrivals traveling with livestock from the towns and villages close to border areas in South Sudan indicates that the Region will continue to host the majority of additional new arrivals. Nguenyyiel Camp in the Gambella Region was expanded from a capacity of 60,000 to 90,000 to support new arrivals, supporting a population of 83,658 at the end of the year. The security situation in the region remains unpredictable; with past security incidents affected refugees, host communities and humanitarian workers, which have including fatalities.

Despite ongoing informal cross-border movements, including traditional movements in tribal areas that traverse the border, refugees show no significant interest in voluntary repatriation. A considerable number of new arrivals are further anticipated to seek asylum in Ethiopia. Sporadic fighting and violence, as well as challenges in the delivery of humanitarian aid in South Sudan is expected to result in additional new arrivals, with the total refugee population reaching 485,000 by the end of 2018, until such a time that a peace process is fully enforced, with the support of the AU and the international community.

The political situation in South Sudan continues to militate against efforts to stabilize and refocus interventions towards capacity building of refugees and host communities towards self-management and reduction of dependency of assistance. An additional 35,000 South Sudanese refugee are anticipated to seek asylum in Ethiopia in 2018, where the extension of life-saving essential services will remain the priority. At the same time, there remain fundamental gaps across all sector due to critical resource constraints.

Average Global Acute Malnutrition prevalence in the camps was 22.1% in 2017; continued ration cuts threaten to worsen the situation further. The risk of epidemics remains high with low vaccination coverage amongst new arrivals, ongoing cholera outbreaks in South Sudan and poor WASH conditions within the camps. In addition, only 37% of households were provided with transitional shelters in 2017, while only 54% of school-aged children were able to enroll in primary and secondary education with a mere 4% of households engaged in livelihoods.

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