April 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Over 85,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan since the beginning of 2017, the United Nation Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said in its latest inter-agency operational update on South Sudanese refugee response.
- South Sudanese refugees seen at Khor Omar camp for the displaced in El Daein, East Darfur on March 20, 2016 (UNAMID Photo)
Nearly 380,000 refugees from neighbouring South Sudan, UNHCR estimates show, have fled to Sudan since mid-December 2013.
However, UNHCR and partners anticipate that up to 180,000 new arrivals from South Sudan may arrive in Sudan by end of 2017.
The highest number of new arrivals during the first quarter of 2017 was reported in East Darfur State, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of new arrivals in 2017 so far, the agency said.
Also, between 16-18 March, a border monitoring mission led by Sudan’s Office of the Commissioner for Refugees (COR) and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) in East Darfur identified an estimated 20,500 refugees residing in the Kalama, Umazelti and Abu Simsim areas near the Sudan-South Sudan border.
“This was followed by an inter-agency mission, led by UNHCR and COR, on 22-25 March to identify the needs and verify the figures of these new arrivals,” the U.N refugee body said in its latest report.
The refugees are reported to have been arriving since January 2017 and are currently being supported by the host communities, although they are said to be in need of humanitarian assistance.
Late last month, however, UNHCR’s representative in Sudan, Noriko Yoshida, appealed to the international community to continue its support to Sudan for the South Sudanese refugee emergency.
"Ultimately there needs to be a solution in South Sudan, so that people do not have to flee to neighboring countries," she observed.
Meanwhile, UNHCR and its partners have appealed for $166 million from donors to help refugees and their host communities in Sudan.
Sudan currently hosts about 500,000 South Sudanese, latest U.N statistics show.
Famine was officially declared recently in South Sudan, where the government and the U.N said 100,000 people are facing starvation, with one million people classified as being on the brink of starvation.
There are fears the numbers could rise up with the latest surge in violence, especially in South Sudan’s Bahr el Ghazal and Greater Equatoria regions.