New York, US (PANA) - The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it is working to relocate an estimated 20,000 refugees, who amassed on the South Sudan border after fleeing conflict and lack of food.
The UN agency said that it was also making efforts to provide them with emergency aid.
UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, said in a statement made available to PANA in New York on Saturday that many of the refugees in South Sudan’s Elfoj border area had fled because of the ongoing bombing and ground fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North in the Sudanese Blue Nile state.
Edwards stated: "As a result of the fighting, villagers had had limited access to food and the fields for farming. A number of refugees had arrived at hospitals in poor health after surviving on tree leaves for some time."
He added that refugees interviewed by UNHCR staff reported that up to 40,000 more people could be en route to South Sudan.
The statement noted that since 19 May, UNCHR had transported several thousand refugees to its new camp, Yusuf Batil.
It also said that others had been relocated some 30 kilometres from Elfoj to Rum, a transit site where UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) were providing food rations and water.
According to Edwards, UNHCR was carrying out relocations three times a week from Rum to the Yusuf Batil camp, of about 1,000 people at a time, based on the capacity of services. However, rain and muddy roads are slowing down the movements.
The spokesperson also warned that "the current refugee influx is putting tremendous strains on limited resources in this remote area of South Sudan".
"UNHCR is in the process of relocating 15,000 refugees from the Jammam camp to the Doro and Batil camps to ease congestion and the pressure on limited water supplies in Jammam."
The recent wave of refugees brings the total number of Sudanese refugees in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state to about 100,000.
Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Unity state is hosting another 38,000 refugees from Sudan’s South Kordofan state.
-0- PANA AA/MA 2June2012