More S. Sudanese refugees flee into Sudan: UNHCR

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South Sudanese refugees in White Nile State receive humanitarian assistance on 27 February 2017 (SUNA photo)
June 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – South Sudanese refugees have continued to flee into neighbouring Sudan, seeking safety in the country it seceded from five years ago.

As of 31 May, the refugee population in South Sudan stood at 272,935 individuals, consisting of 65,781 households spread in 21 different locations across South Sudan, the U.N refugee agency (UNHCR), said.

In April, South Sudan received 1,493 new arrivals mainly from Sudan’s South Kordofan, and registered 2,397 new born babies mainly from Sudan’s South Kordofan region. 52% of the refugees are female, with women and children representing 82% of the total population.

The Sudanese refugee population remains the largest at 251,767 individuals (92%) followed by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 14,541 individuals (5%), Ethiopia 4,739 individuals (2%) and Central African Republic (CAR)1,853 (1%). The majority (90%) of these refugees are hosted in South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Unity regions.

More than 375,000 South Sudanese — nearly 90% of them women and children — have fled to Sudan since the outbreak of civil war in 2013. Only Uganda, with 883,000 registered arrivals, hosts more South Sudanese refugees than does Sudan.

Some 23,000 South Sudanese, according to UNHCR crossed into Sudan last month, bringing the total so far this year to 108,000.

The UN estimates that up to 50,000 additional South Sudanese could flee to Sudan in the next month as fighting and hunger intensify in areas near the border.

The U.N lacks the resources needed to respond adequately to this mass exodus. A plea for $167 million to care for South Sudan refugees in Sudan is less than 10% funded.

The Khartoum-based Sudan government has been cooperating with efforts to assist refugees from the territory it formerly ruled. Sudanese authorities have also agreed to open three “humanitarian corridors” into South Sudan to enable food and other aid to reach vulnerable civilians more quickly.

(ST)