A number of families fleeing Sudan’s conflict searching for separated children in Aweil west county
the on-going conflict in Sudan has forced almost 90,000 people to flee their homes
Since mid-April the on-going conflict in Sudan has forced almost 90,000 people to flee their homes and take the dangerous journey into South Sudan and other neighboring Countries.
Throughout this ordeal, many children are being lost or separated from their parents and caregivers. In South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, which borders the Darfur region, humanitarian partners are seeing an increasing influx of returnees and refugees through the 5 points of entry.
Many of the unaccompanied, separated, and missing children reported at Kiir-Adem and Wedwil transit center were separated from their parents or caregivers while fleeing for their lives as fighting intensified in Sudan.
Joseph, a 36-year-old father of five children was separated from his family in Sudan while they were fleeing. After registration and family tracing he was reunited with his family at the entry point in South Sudan
The family is currently seeking to be transported back to their home county in neighboring Aweil North.
Despite being happy to be return to his home county, Joseph said he has fears on how to start life again there with the little they came with from Sudan. He urges humanitarian partners to stand with the returnees and continue to provide services at their places of return. The transit center is designated by government for returnees to be registered and transported to their home towns and villages. But many are facing challenges to find means to return to their home locations.
That day the conflict erupted I was away from home doing casual work, and when the shooting rang out, I was afraid, I ran home only to find that the family had fled, leaving every item we had in the house
"This life, moving back and forth, is a great pain to me those impacted by the conflict because we lost everything. My family and I run away from South Sudan during the 2016 conflict, and we come back with nothing, we don't have anything to eat, sleep or wear. I don’t know how to start rebuilding our lives” Joseph said.
Joseph expressed gratitude for UNICEF, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, and other child protection partners for being at the forefront in the border areas and transit centers providing family tracing and individuals psychosocial support for separated and unaccompanied children.
As of 26 May 2023, UNICEF and partners have reunited 5 children, identified 19 cases of unaccompanied and separated children, and provided psychosocial support to 25 children including their parents/caregivers.
UNICEF is working closely with the State Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare to ensure safety of vulnerable children and families are provided with immediate child protection services.
The current emergency also necessitates UNICEF and partners to rapidly expand the capacity of emergency family tracing and reunification services, temporary foster care arrangements with screened parents/caregivers as well as other critical services to ensure the protection of children.
UNICEF remains concerned with the mental and psychosocial wellbeing of unaccompanied and separated children. Many of the separated children face enormous challenges in meeting their basic needs, without the people in their lives who would usually help them find food, water, clothing, shelter and basic care is deeply. UNICEF thanks, USAID and the European Union (ECHO) for the generous support in funding the Child Protection services provided for children and families arriving from Sudan.