The final results from last month’s vote in Southern Sudan have shown that more than 98% of the ballots cast were for independence.
The results mean that Southern Sudan will become the world’s newest country in July.
Sudan president Omar Al-Bashir said he accepted the outcome of the vote.
North and south Sudan fought a decades-long civil war that ended in 2005 with a peace agreement that guaranteed last month’s vote. More than two million people died in the war between 1983 and 2005. The two sides must still negotiate citizenship rights, oil rights and border demarcation.
The result will bring its own set of problems, experts warned.
Global children’s organisation Plan International’s regional director said: “One of the biggest challenges we must deal with now is the influx of returnees, most of whom had moved to the North during more than a decade of political turmoil in South Sudan”.
Mr Kebede said an estimated 850,000 to 1.5 million people flooding back are expected to cause shortages of food, shelter, water, health care and sanitation. There are also fears that 2.7 million people could suffer food shortages.
He said access to affordable food was proving difficult for returnees and also the rest of the Southern Sudanese population. As demand for resources increase, the price of basic commodities such as flour, sugar, beans and rice has risen sharply, especially in the border areas.
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the results of the referendum. He said: “This moment is testament to the leaders in both north and south Sudan who ensured a credible and peaceful process.
“I particularly welcome the positive reaction of the government in Khartoum and their clear statements that they will respect the wishes of the south to secede from the north and establish an independent nation.”