UN: UNHCR reports over 26,500 South Sudanese fleeing to Uganda

New York, US (PANA) - Some 26,500 South Sudanese, mostly women and children, have crossed into Uganda since fighting between rival forces erupted in and around the capital city, Juba, on 7 July, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported on Friday.

UNHCR also disclosed that, on Thursday alone, an estimated 8,337 refugees crossed into Uganda, setting a single-day record since the influx began in 2016.

"Thousands of people continue to flee uncertainty and fighting in South Sudan," UNHCR spokesperson Andreas Needham told UN reporters via video-conference from Geneva, noting that more than 90 per cent of those on the move are women and children.

"The influx is severely stretching the capacity of collection points, transit centres and reception centres. On Wednesday night, more than 7,000 people slept at Elegu collection point, significantly beyond its 1,000-person capacity," he said. "Similarly, Kuluba collection point is hosting 1,099 refugees, compared to its 300-person capacity, and torrential rains are further hampering registration efforts."

According to Needham, new arrivals in Adjumani reported that fighting was continuing between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing First Vice President Riek Machar.

He said there were reports from Magwi that armed gunmen continued to loot properties, forcibly recruit boys and young men, and murder civilians.

The spokesperson also disclosed that another Uganda People's Defence Force convoy evacuating Ugandan nationals from South Sudan was expected on Friday.

On previous occasions, a large number of refugees have taken the opportunity to flee the country by accompanying the convoy.

Last Friday in Nairobi, Kenya, UNHCR presented a revised appeal for its South Sudanese refugees operations, seeking US$701 million. The earlier appeal for US$638 million was only 17 per cent funded.

Based on new planning, the UN agency has revised its figures from 867,239 refugees to 973,000 and there are fears that it could cross one million in the coming months.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  22July2016

22 july 2016 17:02:56

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