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The South Sudanese (SSD) are the largest refugee population in Ethiopia, totaling 344,874 as of June 2020, of whom 319,130 are accommodated in seven camps in the Gambella Regional State. Most SSD new arrivals into the Gambella region are expected to be relocated to the Benishangul-Gumuz Region following a Government policy issued in January 2019 requiring such transfers.

Between 31 August 2019 and 30 March 2020, a total of 7,000 individuals were in the Pamdong Transit Center, 718 of whom were relocated to Assosa. On March 30, the Government directed the closure of the Pamdong Transit Centre, and 2,190 individuals were relocated to the Nguenyyiel refugee camp. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pagak Reception Centre was re-opened in May and is now hosting more than 8,000 refugees from SSD.

There is limited accommodation, and services are overstretched for the increasing number of new asylum seekers, raising public health concerns. Substantial reinvestments have been made to ensure the delivery of assistance in Pagak including rehabilitation of shelters (and other infrastructure), provision of WASH, health, nutrition, and other protection services.


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