Friday 21 July 2017

Over 95,000 S.Sudanese fled to Sudan in 2017: UN

Over 95,000 S.Sudanese fled to Sudan in 2017: UN
(AFP 04/28/17)

More than 95,000 South Sudanese have entered Sudan so far this year, the UN said Thursday, as thousands continue to flee war and famine in the world's youngest nation.

South Sudan, which split from the north in 2011, has declared famine in parts of the country, saying a million people are on the brink of starvation.

The number of South Sudanese refugees arriving in Sudan has surpassed 95,000 since the start of 2017, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Office, or OCHA, said in its latest bulletin.

This brings the total number of South Sudanese refugees taking shelter in Sudan since a brutal civil war erupted in their country in December 2013 to nearly 390,000.

OCHA said that, as of April 15, Sudan was hosting about a quarter of the estimated 1.6 million South Sudanese refugees in the region.

UN aid agencies anticipate a continuous influx of South Sudanese refugees throughout this year.

Khartoum has opened a new "humanitarian corridor" for delivering relief items to people affected by famine in South Sudan's Bahr El Ghazal state, a top UN aid official said in a separate statement on Thursday.

This is the second road route opened by Khartoum within a month for delivering aid to the South Sudanese people.

It will transport aid from El Obeid in central Sudan to the city of Aweil in Bahr El Ghazal.

"This new road corridor, opened by the government of Sudan... will help bring much needed relief to thousands of South Sudanese who are affected by the famine," said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas.

The World Food Programme will deliver about 7,000 tones of sorghum to about 540,000 South Sudanese through this route.

South Sudan's leaders fought for decades for independence from the north, but an internal civil war erupted in 2013 out of a power struggle between President Salwa Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

Aid groups have denounced a "man-made" famine caused by the conflict in South Sudan that has forced at least 1.7 million people to flee the country, disrupted agriculture, sent prices soaring and cut off aid agencies from some of the worst-hit areas.

At least 7.5 million people across South Sudan, about two-thirds of its population, need humanitarian assistance, the UN says.

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