South Sudanese emigrants in US appeal for aid for refugees in Ethiopia

South Sudanese emigrants in US appeal for aid for refugees in Ethiopia

The South Sudanese emigrants living in Sioux Falls, Dakota, called on the United Nations to help the refugees who fled to Ethiopia before South Sudan became independence in 2011.

The refugees fled to the neighbouring countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda during the Sudanese civil war that had persisted for 21 years. The number of the refugees increased when South Sudan involved in another civil war in 2013, displacing hundreds of thousands across the country.

According to a statement seen by The City Review on Monday, David Jal, an immigrant residing in Sioux Falls, said they are much worried about the perilous situation the refugees are facing in Ethiopia.

“We are not here to speak on behalf of the UN or Ethiopian government, but we are concerned about the refugees because the food they used to receive was stopped and they are dying of starvation. I don’t think they realized the impact this would have for refugees in Ethiopia,” Jal said.

He said the refugees have no any other way of getting food rather than the food aid given to them by the United Nations.

“The refugees in Ethiopia have no other way to get food other than the ration that the UN is providing them. They can go to whoever is diverting the food. They have a right to do that, but at the same time, you cannot leave refugees,” he stated.

Goi Yoal, who went to the United States for further studies in Kentucky, noted that the suffering of the refugees had an effect in their lives, saying that they tried their best to send them money to no avail.

“It’s really impacting us members of these communities living in the United States because we have been trying to send them money and has not been enough. Some of them do not even have relatives here and this has been making a lot of sleepless nights for most of us living here,” he stressed.

“When you come here, you consider yourself the lucky ones. You have a job. You have food on the table. Your kids are eating. You can imagine yourself before you had come here or the kids who have no food. It makes you really think again and say, what the purpose of living is?” he added.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHR] or UN Refugee Agency, helped provide food and other aid to the region. Instability in South Sudan has caused a crisis as refugees from Sudan and refugees returned to what has been considered an inhospitable environment due to conflict and lack of food.

In the recent months, the UNHCR suspended food distribution to the refugees in the camps in Ethiopia. The suspension of the aid left refugees stuck without food. As a result, more than 300,000 refugees fled Panyiduk camp in Gambella and returned to South Sudan due the food suspension by WFP.