New York, US (PANA) - The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has appealed for more funding to scale up its assistance to refugees in South Sudan, describing the situation there as among the “most critical” it now faces.
A UNHCR statement made available to PANA in New York on Saturday, stated: ``There are currently some 162,500 people who have fled conflict and related food shortages in Sudan and have taken refuge in neighbouring South Sudan. Another 36,500 have fled to Ethiopia.''
It said that, ``a sharp surge in refugee numbers in recent weeks in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state has seen an average of 1,000 new arrivals every day''.
It also revealed that funding needs for the relief operation in South Sudan now exceed
US$219 million, for which UNHCR has so far received just US$45.9 million (less than 21 per cent of what is required).
``The situation for refugees in South Sudan is among the most critical UNHCR now faces
anywhere,” spokesperson Adrian Edwards noted in the statement.
Edwards also added that, ``the contributions the agency has received so far for South Sudan
have been exhausted''.
He also said that many of the new arrivals were in a desperate state with large numbers of
children in urgent need of assistance to combat malnourishment.
According to him: ``We are very concerned about the growing mortality rates in the refugee
The spokesperson also said that water shortages present a life-threatening risk, particularly
for an already weakened population, adding that the the agency was establishing a baseline
survey to gain a better picture of the situation.
The statement concluded that, ``UNHCR is currently planning for a refugee population in South Sudan of up to 235,000 people."
It said, however, that the agency was not expecting a further dramatic increase in arrivals in
Ethiopia and funding needs there remain unchanged.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 23June2012