May 26, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is planning to increase aid operations at a refugee camp on South Sudan’s tense borders with Sudan in response to a hike in the rate of new arrivals.
- Thousands of people displaced by conflict in Kordofan State have sought refuge in an area secured by UNMIS (UN News Center)
UNHCR reported earlier this month that the number of refugees pouring into Yida camp in South Sudan’s Unity State from the Nuba Mountains in Sudan’s border state of South Kordofan had nearly doubled in May due to food shortages. The organisation also urged relocation of refugees from Yida to a place distance between then and the tense Sudan-South Sudan border.
The Sudanese government has been blocking humanitarian assistance from reaching areas held by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan since the conflict there erupted in June last year.
UNHCR’s spokesperson Melissa Fleming said at a press briefing held Friday in Geneva that their agency was going to expand aid operations at Yida as the number of new arrivals throughout May had increased by 47 percent over the rates seen in April.
Fleming described Yida as “the most dangerous” refugee settlement in South Sudan due to its proximity to the borders. She however added that UNHCR was improving the conditions at Yida because of the refugees’ reluctance to leave.
UNHCR is also very concerned about the upcoming rainy season, according to Fleming, who said it was making it difficult for aid workers to bring in goods and may prevent people from leaving.
Meanwhile, US congressman Frank Wolf said in a letter he sent to President Obama on Friday that he has learned of an “alarming” increase in the number of refugees fleeing the war in the Nuba Mountains.
Wolf, who is an outspoken critic of the Sudanese government, said he was told that the people in the Nuba Mountains have resorted to “eating straw and bugs” and that they were effectively being starved out or to death.”
He accused Sudan’s President Omer Al-Bashir of using “food as a weapon of war” and urged the administration of Obama to “do more” to address the situation before it becomes “catastrophic” as the onset of the rainy season threatens to make aid operations difficult.