Statement attributable to the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari

The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mr Ali Al-Za’tari, has expressed concern about the plight of South Sudanese people stranded at the Kosti way station amid reports that they and all international organizations working there will have to leave Kosti by 5 May 2012.

There are currently between 12,000 and 15,000 South Sudanese at the way station in Kosti, many of whom have been waiting with their entire house holdings for months for transport to South Sudan. All are dependent on collaboration between Sudan and South Sudan and assistance from the international community for proper transportation facilities, food, water, healthcare and other essential services and most do not have the means to transport themselves to South Sudan and are running out of means to support themselves.

“Kosti, a major town on the White Nile, is a significant transit point for South Sudanese returning to South Sudan”, said Mr Al-Za’tari. “As those awaiting repatriation from Kosti to South Sudan are in a vulnerable position and lack many basic services including adequate shelter, vital and quick collaboration is needed from Sudan and South Sudan to alleviate the hardship of those stranded in Kosti”, he said.

Mr. Al-Za’tari acknowledged that major efforts have been made over the last year by the Government, together with national and international humanitarian organizations, to facilitate the movement of people of South Sudanese origin who wished to voluntarily return to South Sudan. The Humanitarian Coordinator called on the Government of Sudan to continue to work closely with the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to ensure that returns to South Sudan are undertaken safely and expeditiously.

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