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South Kordofan Refugee Situation Report: Nyiel Refugee Camp, Unity State, South Sudan


Nyiel village is among the proposed sites for relocation of refugees from Yida camp by Panrieng County and Unity State authorities.

Nyiel is located south of Panrieng town, bordering Guit County to the north. The location was repeatedly rejected by the refugees from Yida camp during 2011 when it was first proposed as by the authorities. However, following much dialogue and debate between the refugees on the one side and the UNHRC and Unity State government on the other, as well as because of some promises made by the UNHCR and its partners, some refugees accepted to move to the Nyiel site in early April 2012.

There are currently 960 people living in Nyiel refugee camp.

The war in South Kordofan, Sudan, started in June 2011 and led to many of the inhabitants being forced to flee. All the villages of Shad, Kutang, Kululu and Daloka around Kadugli town in South Kordofan are now deserted. Most of the refugees in Yida and Nyiel camps are from the mentioned villages and fled the villages due to the continued and systematic bombardment by the Sudan Air Force. The refugees in Nyiel camp narrated horrible stories of how they escaped.

“We ran from place to place, from cave to cave hiding from the Sudanese war planes which were flying over us every day and night,” said Samira Musa who is a woman leader in the camp. “We spent one month walking on foot from our burned villages to Yida. Some of my family are stranded in Sudan because they were in Kadugli town when the conflict started. I am appealing to the international community to unite me with my family” complained Khair Allah Tia.

The refugees fled first to Yida and later moved to Nyiel based on an agreed relocation plan with UNHCR and International NGOs. However, despite promises by the UNHCR and its partners to make living conditions conducive in Nyiel camp, the refugees have expressed vital concerns about the wet nature of the new site as well as poor food distribution. They reported only sorghum, lentils, oil and salts are distributed to the refugees. The UN has promised paving of the camp with maram but this has not materialized. 

Some basic needs requested by the refugees:

Teacher training: teachers in the camp need English language courses to enable them to teach and instruct pupils efficiently because English is the language for instruction in South Sudan. Also, members of the refugees have asked for provision of adult education in the camp for idle adults. All the teachers are from amongst the refugees and get some incentives from the NGOs managing the camp.

Health: refugees have complained about poor health services provided in the camp. They alleged that children are dying due to lack of appropriate medication in the camp clinic.

Camp management: the camp is supervised by INGOs but the refugees manage their own affairs. The elders and leaders of the refugees have asked for camp management trainings to enable them improve their managerial skills.

Grinding Mill: the only grinding mill in the camp has stopped working due to lack of fuel in the camp. The refugees are asking for fuel to operate the grinding mill because they do not have money to use the village grinding mill.

School Uniform: the students and the leaders of the camp have asked for the provision of school uniforms.


The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, called on refugees in Yida camp to move to camps further from the border “located in a safer, healthier and easier to access environment.,” during a visit on 23rd November[1]. The UNHCR will need to take action to make sure that conditions in other camps such as at Nyiel are consistent with the promises made if the confidence of refugees is to be sustained.


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