THE IMPACT OF CURRENT SOUTH SUDAN CONFLICT ON SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEE IN KULE 1&2, ETHIOPIA

By Gatwech Koak Nyuon,

Research Article.

Gatwech interviewing a woman under her tent in Kule refugee camp(Photo: Gatwech)

Gatwech interviewing a woman under her tent in Kule refugee camp(Photo: Gatwech)

July 25, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Kule1 was first established while Kule2 was later established as an extension of Kule1 due to increase arrival of the refugees from South Sudan. The camp established on 17 May 2014. Above 1000 individual refugees from South Sudan mostly from States of Upper Nile, Jonglie and Unity State arrive everyday (Tamirat Ayelle, UNHCR protections). Both Kule 1&2 are located 47km away from Gambella town while 7km away from Itang Town. The camps are found in mountainous area with sandy soil mixed with some rocky. The area is green and may remain green even in the dry season (Martha Nyanchiew Kotdah), a women leader in Kule2 described.

Both Kule1&2 currently hosted almost 100,000 refugees purely from Nuer tribe. South Sudan has more than 60 tribes with Dinka as the majority and Nuer as the second majority (2008, Housing and Population Census). So far, UNHCR predicted the camp should accommodated 30,000 but due to daily arrival of the refugees, the services fall short because of the high growth of the population. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing water in Kule2 with GOAL-Ethiopia seriously providing feeding for malnutrition children. Even though it’s green, the camp remained white with tents sealed blue on top with UNHCR logo. The exact number of refugees should not be told due to the   huge growth of conflict, the drought in some areas of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglie States while the frequent alert of famine in South Sudan is eminent. More refugees have disclosed that they choose to come to Ethiopia because they trust the Ethiopian government should protect them better.

All these led to the pushing factor for South Sudanese refugees to come to Kule1&2. South Sudan as a Christian Country, the Nuer refugees never missed to pray under trees. The refugees cited that they would be very happy if some missionaries would volunteer to preach the gospel in order to erase the trauma. “I have no Bible because we were attacked in Nasir by the government troops and we just ran for our safety with nothing at hands”, an under Tree Church Deacon who asked her name not to be published said. UNHCR and other International partners are seriously demonstrating help on refugees. Now, the survey is underway and the UN believes it will soon open some schools for refugees in the near future. Both warring parties have been negotiating in Addis Ababa under Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) with negative outcome. The refugees loss hope and they believe that the truce mediated by IGAD will bear no fruit. Instead they urged Christians Communities around the globe to pray for the crisis.

It’s just beyond their capacity. “The UN is doing better and remain will do better” Elizabeth Nyakong Puk, a widowed refugee coming from Nasir, Upper Nile State told me while assessed the situation in Block-B. Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs is a government partner for UNHCR in Ethiopia protecting refugees while the UNHCR deals with assistance.

Finally, this article is my research finding in Kule1&2 on how UN and its partners put more concern on refugees. As a researcher, I recommended that UNHCR and other partners are doing enough and we should only help to pray for South Sudan because a single word of prayer will make a difference!

The Author is currently doing his undergraduate in Leadership and Development Studies at Mekane Yesus Management and Leadership College and undertaking his Thesis entitled ‘The Impact of current South Sudan Conflict on Refugees in Kule 1&2 ’, he is also an Actor, Director and Producer of BROWNSTONE MOVIE, a Nuer Movie advocating for girl child education in South Sudan. He is currently living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and should be reach on: gatwechkok@gmail.com

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