1m S Su­dan refugees face dire con­di­tions

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

NAIROBI — Nearly a mil­lion refugees flee­ing the bru­tal con­flict in South Su­dan, most of them women and chil­dren, are suf­fer­ing dire con­di­tions in camps across the re­gion, the UN said on Mon­day.

Refugee agency UNHCR said ar­rivals in Uganda alone had peaked at “more than 8 000 in one day” last month af­ter an out­break of fresh fight­ing in the capital of neigh­bour­ing South Su­dan.

In to­tal, 90 per­cent of new ar­rivals were women and chil­dren, the UN added.

“With refugees flee­ing South Su­dan in their thou­sands, sur­round­ing coun­tries are strain­ing un­der the weight of large num­bers of dis­placed peo­ple and crit­i­cally un­der­funded op­er­a­tions,” UNHCR said in a state­ment.

“Al­ready there are about 930 000 refugees in the re­gion, and more are ar­riv­ing daily.”

De­spite a peace agree­ment signed nearly a year ago by the gov­ern­ment and the rebels, fight­ing has con­tin­ued and the coun­try’s cri­sis has wors­ened.

Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple have been killed since civil war re­sumed in De­cem­ber 2013.

Towns have been razed in fight­ing char­ac­terised by rape, mur­der and the de­ploy­ment of child sol­diers.

Food short­ages are com­mon with nearly five mil­lion need­ing emer­gency ra­tions, while some parts of the coun­try are on the brink of famine, and the econ­omy is in free fall.

Cit­ing the ex­am­ple of a new 100 000 ca­pac­ity camp at Yumbe, in Uganda, UNHCR said it ur­gently needs more money to “speed up the re­lo­ca­tion of more than 45 000 refugees out of over­stretched and se­verely con­gested re­cep­tion and tran­sit cen­tres.”

“With so many peo­ple liv­ing in such close prox­im­ity, the po­ten­tial for dis­ease out­break is high,” the agency said.

UNHCR said it had only re­ceived a fifth of the $609 mil­lion it needed to cater to nearly one mil­lion South Su­danese refugees in six coun­tries in the re­gion, as well as the roughly 1.6 mil­lion up­rooted and liv­ing in dis­place­ment camps in­side the strife-torn coun­try. — AFP

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