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Government set to reopen Acol-pii IDP Camp as numbers of South Sudan refugees surge


Government set to reopen Acol-pii IDP Camp as numbers of South Sudan refugees surge

The government under the Office of the Prime Minister-OPM is planning to open a new refugee settlement in Acol-pii, a former Internally Displaced People’s Camp in Pader District to accommodate more South Sudan refugees.

This follows reports that Palabek Refugee Settlement in Lamwo District is running out of space to host the surging population of refugees fleeing military unrest in neighboring South Sudan.

Palabek Refugee settlement which was officially opened in April 2017 at the height of renewed violence in Africa’s youngest nation sits on a 50 square miles piece of land and currently hosts at least 58,000 South Sudan refugees.

According to Axel Okurut, the Assistant Settlement Commandant at Palabek Refugee Settlement Camp, the refugee settlement was initially opened to accommodate a maximum of 60,000 refugees.

This was after an expansion from the 40,000 refugees’ capacity it was meant to host at its initial opening in April 2017.

Only 2,000 refugees are left to hit the maximum capacity. Now, OPM has moved in quickly to verify its land in Acol-Pii in Pader Sub-county, some 18 kilometers away from Pader Town Council for its suitability in hosting South Sudan refugees.

Acol-pii was one of the largest IDPs and hosted close to 20,000 South Sudan refugees before its closure in 2002 after a brutal raid by Lord Resistance Army rebels that left 60 refugees dead.

Okurut says a team of OPM officials and the humanitarian agency UNHCR made a tour of the site recently for verification and found it suitable and spacious for hosting more refugees.

Meanwhile, Hillary Onek the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees also Lamwo County legislator confirmed the development saying it is intended to avoid congestion since the land offered in Palabek is soon getting used up.

Onek says the settlement currently consists of a population of over 70,000 people with over 57,000 being South Sudan refugees and the rest the host community.


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