GENEVA, Switzerland, August 28, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Ethiopia this week resumed its emergency evacuation of South Sudanese refugees from the border, which had been halted since late July 2015 as all receiving camps had reached their maximum capacity.
Following the establishment of Pugnido 2 camp by the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), this week alone, IOM evacuated 3,618 refugees to the newly constructed camp. With the addition of this camp, the country’s refugee accommodation capacity has increased by 50,000.
As Ethiopia keeps its door open to refugees, UNHCR has announced that the country continues to accommodate the largest number of refugees in Africa, with over 700,000 refugees.
Despite the recently signed South Sudanese peace deal announced this week, refugees are still crossing into Ethiopia, with previously arrived refugees seeking evacuation to safe camps inside the country.
Building on a longstanding partnership and successful cooperation in providing ongoing assistance to asylum seekers from South Sudan, ARRA, UNHCR and IOM are providing transportation, shelter and other vital assistance to the refugees.
By October 2015, ARRA, IOM and UNHCR are planning to relocate over 20,000 South Sudanese refugees now living in different border camps, in the expectation of new arrivals.
Since the conflict broke out on December 2013, 221,376 refugees have crossed to Ethiopia seeking asylum. Including 46,473 refugees who have been relocated from camp to camp, IOM Ethiopia has moved a total of 253,085 refugees to safe areas in in Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz Regional State during the period.