Hunger and continued threats of insecurity in South Sudan has prompted over 38,000 people to flee the country to neighboring Sudan (Khartoum), United Nations Refugee Agency said.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the hard-hitting hunger and the wave of violence in the north-western States of Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Warrap, have resulted into a massive trek to East and South Darfur since end of January.
“UNHCR fears the situation could quickly worsen as the nutrition situation in Upper Nile, Warrap, and Northern Bahr Ghazal grows increasingly serious”, UNHCR Noted in a statement.
The Government of Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission reported the arrival of 2,328 South Sudanese in El Meiram and 2,520 in Kharasana, in West Kordofan State.
“These new arrivals, which may be under-counted, have reached Sudan in poor health, many having risked their lives en route. They need humanitarian help including food, water, basic relief items, SGBV prevention and response as well as family reunification”, The body called for help.
UNHCR says it led a mission to El Meiram on March 20 and 21, 2016 to assess the level and nature of the needs. In East Darfur, an average of 500 South Sudanese – or 100 households – have been arriving per day, rising to over 150 households last week, with a total of 35,234 as of 23 March, and more are expected in the coming days.
In South Darfur, UNHCR says over 2000 new arrivals were registered in Beliel Camp. Many of them arrived with no identification documents and are in need of humanitarian assistance, in particular food and hygiene items such as soap and jerry cans.
Many children have been separated from their families. UNHCR led an inter-agency needs assessment mission last week to determine the needs of both the new arrivals and the host communities, which are over-stretched as each household is hosting an additional 25 to 35 people. The assessment indicates that refugees have faced insecurity en route to Sudan, are now living in overcrowded conditions with many of them being sick and in need of medical attention.
The conflict that erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 has produced one of the world’s largest humanitarian emergencies with 2.3 million people forced to flee their homes, 678,000 of these across borders as refugees and 1.69 million displaced inside the country.
Growing food insecurity and ongoing conflict are causing more and more South Sudanese to flee – either across borders or inside the country. They are among 2.8 million people across South Sudan officially classified as facing a ‘crisis’ or ’emergency’ of food insecurity, according to Fewsnet, the global body mandated to monitor such situations.