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4.6 million people need food assistance in S. Sudan

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June 16, 2015 (BENTIU) – At least 4.6 million people need food support in South Sudan in 2015, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

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IDPs stack their belongings up outside the gate of the UNMISS compound, after government forces on Friday retook the provincial capital of Bentiu, in Unity State, Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 (Photo AP/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin)

The numbers of internal displaced persons, OCHA said, has vastly increased in Unity state and other parts of the nation following last month’s resumption of fighting.

The numbers of displaced civilians in the protection of civilian camps have reportedly soared from 52,000-72,000 after clashes resumed between country’s warring factions.

According to OCHA, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have been tracking the movements of people into displaced camps.

Overcrowding has been cited as one of the biggest challenges faced by the displaced people in the protection of civilian sites.

Ruon Kuol, who heads the IDPs in the UN camp, wants new facilities built for people.

“The UN is working to expand the camp in order to accommodate large numbers of people who have just reported there,” said Kuol.

People reportedly arrive everyday in thousands. Most of them are said to lack basic needs as they seek shelter in bushes while many are feared to have died of starvation.

Kuol further said most of the people have lost everything they owned and many worried about missing relatives and children in the bushes.

Collectively, the aid agencies in South Sudan reportedly require $123 million to reach 3.8 million people with assistance by the end of December 2015. So far, they have a budget shortfall of $39.4 million.

“While needs have risen dramatically, funding hasn’t. Those who need help the most, particularly in remote communities many of them cut off by fighting may also end up being cut off from humanitarian aid,” said Aimee Ansari, country director for Care South Sudan.

Over 2 million people have been forced from their homes in, including 135,000 who are living in UN bases across the country and over 500,000 in neighbouring countries.

By end of July, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) predicts 40% of South Sudan’s total population will be severely food insecure. The UN has estimated that to fully meet the needs of South Sudanese affected by the crisis, $1.63 billion is needed.

“Only 36% of the response has been funded to date. The South Sudanese regional refugee response is only 11% funded,” aid agencies in South Sudan said this week.

(ST)

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