Over 3000 refugees return to Pajok after humanitarian aid cut-off food ratio

Over 3000 refugees return to Pajok after humanitarian aid cut-off food ratio
A group of South Sudanese refugees in Sudan (photo credit: file)

At least 3,405 refugees who fled from Pajok Payam in Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State, at the height of the 2016 conflict, have returned home.

Executive officer of Pajok Payam, Okeny John Andrew, said the returnees have been flocking to the area, some from abroad.

“The people are actually coming back from Uganda. Last week I was at the checkpoint, and there was a team sent by ACTED to register people who were returning,” he said.

He added that the organization has so far recorded 225 households and 3,405 individuals having returned home.

Okeny appealed for support from the returnees, adding that most of them are in need of aid.

“It is rainy season, and people who are coming need shelters, which is a major problem. They need to be supported with shelters, food items, and other basic needs,” he said.

Tony Nono Ochen, one of the returnees from Palabek refugee camp, Uganda, said the situation back home is better than living in the camp.

“I am at home because the situation is worse in the camp, and I have no way to come back because when you reach the border, they will detain you.”

“They said we don’t have the right to move,” Nono said.

He appealed for humanitarian assistance from the government and organizations.

Another returnee, Hellen Anthony, said she left the camp after the declaration from the authorities that there would be no housing for the refugees.

“I have now spent four days here at home because they said the last food ratio will end in May and everybody has to survive on their own,” she said.

“If you cannot go back home, you can go hire a garden from the host community.”

Hellen said she decided to return home because she did not have money to hire land for farming from the host community.