New York, US (PANA) - Some 35,000 people have been displaced by the recent fighting near the border between Sudan and South Sudan, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.
It said that new outbreaks of violence were putting refugees’ safety at risk.
In a statement made available to PANA in New York, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, said that people in border areas such as Heglig, Talodi and other parts of the state of South Kordofan, located in Sudan, had been displaced by the fighting.
He noted that escalating hostilities were raising concerns about refugees’ safety.
Edwards said UNHCR had registered an increase in the number of Sudanese refugees crossing the border, some of them “seriously malnourished”.
"In Yida, for example, more than 1,300 new arrivals were reported in the last four days, and average daily arrivals have tripled since February and March," he said.
He disclosed that UNHCR had appealed to both governments to “do their utmost to avoid displaced civilians being placed in harm’s way, and to avoid actions that could displace more people".
The spokesperson also added that humanitarian agencies would continue to provide life-saving assistance to over 20,000 refugees in the region.
A spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP), Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, said that the agency aimed to distribute assistance to 2.7 million people facing food insecurity in South Sudan this year.
Ms. Byrs said the agency was focusing on prepositioning food in the country now that the rainy season had started, as many parts of the country would become increasingly inaccessible, and noted that the unstable security situation was affecting operations.
Over the past month there have been continued aerial bombardments in South Sudan, the latest having occurred in Bentiu town in the country’s Unity state.
UN senior officials have consistently called for a halt in hostilities to ensure civilian safety.
-0- PANA AA/MA 24April2012