Airlift of South Sudanese nationals from Khartoum gets underway

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Families upload their belongings onto a truck

Nearly 400 South Sudanese nationals who had been stranded in a transit center in Sudan have now been airlifted back to their country by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Close to 12,000 South Sudanese nationals were stranded at Kosti which is 300 km south of the Sudanese capital Khartoum for months awaiting transport back home.

IOM says the number of those being airlifted daily has been scaled down to avoid overcrowding the transit centre in Juba which can only shelter 1,000 people at any one time.

Jean Philippe Chauzy of the IOM says although thousands of South Sudanese want to return home, reintegration was still a challenge for many as they will have to start new lives in an environment with which they were not familiar.

"Initially we have envisioned to organizing up to six return flights per day from Khartoum to Juba, but for various logistical reasons including the absorption capacity in Juba we had to reduce the number of return flights to about three a day. And the operation will continue for as many weeks as long as there will be demand for return. You still have probably two to three hundred thousand South Sudanese in the Republic of Sudan some are still in their jobs and want to stay in the Republic of Sudan and they will probably do so if they can, others are considering possible return to south Sudan."

Duration 35″

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