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UN appeals for $1.5b for South Sudan refugees

Newly arrived refugees from South Sudan tell UNHCR head Filippo Grandi and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock why they fled.   © UNHCR/Georgina Goodwin

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, Friday launched a funding appeal for US$1.5 billion to support refugees fleeing the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan and for US$1.7 billion for people in need in the country during 2018.

With the conflict now in its fifth year, nearly 2.5 million South Sudanese have fled the country to six neighboring countries including Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.

Conflict and insecurity has displaced 1 in 3 of the country’s population – either within South Sudan or across borders. Inside the country, 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, the UN refugee agency, UNHRC, said.

The number of refugees is projected to cross the 3 million mark by the end of this year, making South Sudan Africa’s largest refugee crises since the Rwanda genocide.

“The human cost of the South Sudan conflict has reached epic proportions,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“If the war doesn’t stop, refugee numbers will rise from 2.5 to three million in 2018. The conflict is purging South Sudan of the people who should be the greatest resource of a young nation.

Uganda, the largest host with over a million refugees, could end up hosting a further quarter million refugees more. Refugee numbers could exceed the one million mark in Sudan.

Nearly 90 percent of the forcibly displaced are women and children and nearly 65 per cent are under 18.

Women have reported rape and other forms of violence, the killing of their husbands, and the abduction of children during flight.

“The conflict in South Sudan has taken a brutal and deadly toll. Many millions have fled in fear for their lives. They now require our support,” said Mark Lowcock, while visiting Kakuma, Kenya together with the High Commissioner.

 

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