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South Sudanese refugees exceed one million: UNHCR

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September 16, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday said the number of South Sudanese refugees living in neighbouring countries “has this week passed the one million mark”.

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South Sudanese refugees perform a traditional dance as President Omer Hassan al-Bashir addresses a crowd a rally held in Ed Daein, East Darfur, April 5, 2016. April 5, 2016. (Photo Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

UNHCR spokesperson Leo Dobbs told reporters in Geneva on Friday that South Sudan, with this milestone, joins Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia as countries which have produced more than a million refugees.

“Most of those fleeing South Sudan are women and children. They include survivors of violent attacks, sexual assault, children that have been separated from their parents or travelled alone, the disabled, the elderly and people in need of urgent medical care,” he said.

According to the UNCHR, more than 185,000 people have fled South Sudan since fresh violence erupted in the country in Juba on July 8.

Dobbs noted that “more than three quarters of the recent arrivals have crossed into Uganda, but a growing number of people have entered Ethiopia’s western Gambella region in the past week and others have been heading to Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR)”.

According to the UNHCR, “Uganda is hosting the lion’s share of South Sudanese refugees, with 373,626, more than a third of them arriving since early July. They keep coming; over the past week more than 20,000 new arrivals were recorded, primarily through the Oraba crossing in the northwest”.

SUDAN SAYS RECEIVED HALF OF SOUTH SUDAN’S REFUGEES

Meanwhile, Sudan’s refugee commission has put the number of South Sudanese refugees who arrived in Sudan at 500,000, saying most of them are living in the White Nile, East Darfur, West and South Kordofan states.

The Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) on Friday said that 82,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in the gathering points in the localities of Al-Gabalain and Al-Salam since 2014.

SRCS executive director Osama Osman Talha pointed that 40 to 50 South Sudanese families arrive in Sudan daily through three crossing points in the White Nile state including Al-Migaines, Al-Kowaik and Joddah.

He added the refugees are received at eight gathering points, stressing the health conditions in these points are stable.

Talha further said that government organs, UN agencies and civil society groups provide all food and health services for the refugees.

In December 2013, Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir decided to treat South Sudanese refugees as citizens and refused establishing refugee camps for them, saying they can live and work all over Sudan.

However, earlier this month, Sudan decided to treat South Sudanese that fled the conflict in their country as refugees, enabling United Nations to provide assistance and raise funds for aid operations.

(ST)

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