Lamwo — A total of 3,500 South Sudan refugees have pitched camp at the Uganda-South Sudan border post of Ngomoromo in Lamwo District as the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) finalises plans to relocate them in the three different settlement centres.
Last month, the district local government offered land for the establishment of refugee settlement camps in Palabek Gem, Palabek Kal and Palabek Ogili following an influx of South Sudan refugees in the district.
The refugees fled their homes following the renewed fighting that erupted last week in South Sudan's Imatong Hills where government backed force, the Sudan People's Liberation Army [SPLA], launched offensive against various militias in the area.
Mr Titus Jogo, the refugee desk officer in OPM told Daily Monitor in an interview at the weekend that the refugees have been temporarily provided with shelter in Ngomoromo collection point as they complete facilities in the areas where are to be accommodated.
Mr Jogo said about 1,000 refugees have been relocated to Palorinya Settlement Camp in Moyo District in the past three days, a decision he said was made to decongest Ngomoromo border.
"Establishing a resettlement centre is a process, you need to have in place health centres, sanitation facilities, water sources among others and all these are not yet fully established in Lamwo District," Mr Jogo said.
Mr Jogo noted that the delay by some of the implementing partners to intervene in the emergency situation has slowed the opening up of settlement centres.
He explained that they are working tirelessly to ensure that the refugees are relocated as fast as possible citing their current location at the border point is not secure.
Mr Jogo, however, said they are optimistic that the Palabek Settlement Camp will open on today and will accommodate about 50,000 refugees.
The Lamwo District LC5 chairperson, Mr Thomas Ogwok, said the overwhelming number of the refugees is posing threats to the local resources in the district.
"We already have some 5,000 south Sudanese refugees in the district that crossed during July last year's violence in South Sudan. The current influx is adding pressure on our resources and we are appealing for government intervention," Mr Ogwok said.
Uganda currently hosts about 700,000 South Sudanese refugees, the highest number ever recorded according to statistics from United Nations High Commission for Refugees