UNHCR alarmed by upsurge of South Sudanese fleeing into Sudan
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), its sister UN agencies and humanitarian partners, including the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, are concerned at the dire situation of South Sudanese refugees having recently fled into Sudan.
Since 20 May, nearly 30,000 South Sudanese have sought refuge in Sudan, mainly in White Nile state. The most recent surge, however, occurred in mid-June, when some 9,200 South Sudanese refugees were registered in Kharasana, West Kordofan State. The influx in the State has continued since then, at a rate of 100-150 per day.
“We are extremely preoccupied at the reports received about these people’s condition. Of these 9,200 new arrivals, some 7,000 are children, including 3,500 under five. We have also identified some 150 unaccompanied and separated children. They are in dire need of immediate life-saving assistance”, UNHCR Representative, Mohammed Adar, says.
Refugees are coming from Bentiu area, in South Sudan’s Unity State, where fighting has intensified over the past weeks. An inter-agency needs assessment was just completed and will help determine the critical gaps.
Emergency food distributions are currently ongoing by the World Food Programme to all verified individuals. UNHCR has also begun the transportation and distribution of non-food item kits for 2,000 families, including jerrycans, plastic sheeting, sleeping mats and blankets. UNICEF and IOM have also started the provision of emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, including water bladders, jerrycans, soap and construction of emergency latrines. The identification and registration of unaccompanied and separated children has also started. Malnutrition screening has been undertaken for 3,000 children, and 22 cases of severe acute malnutrition have been identified, as well as 93 cases of moderate acute malnutrition. UNFPA has provided 350 clean individual delivery kits to be distributed to visibly pregnant women.
“We and our partners are trying to respond to the most pressing needs, but given the pace of new arrivals, we will not have the resources to provide life-saving assistance to all. [...] We are now confronted with impossible choices,” Adar says.
Sudan currently hosts over 172,000 South Sudanese refugees, who represent more than 50 per cent of the entire refugee population in the country. The financial requirements for the South Sudan refugee crisis in Sudan, amounting to $152.2 million for 2015, are only 12 percent covered.
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