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500 refugees fleeing South Kordofan per week: UNHCR

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February 5, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said over 500 Sudanese arrive every week to refugee camps in South Sudan since last December fleeing the armed conflict in South Kordofan state.

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Sudanese refugees fetching water in Yida refugee camp in South Sudan’s Unity state on 12 July 2012 (ST)

The UNHCR said that clashes between the Sudanese army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement –North (SPLM-N) forced more than 3,000 people to flee to Yida refugee camp in Unity State, South Sudan, from 23 December to 30 January.

“Over 500 Sudanese refugees are arriving per week, an increase of more than 100 percent compared to the same period in 2013,” underlined the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its weekly bulletin on Thursday.

The refugees told UN officials in Yida camp that they decided to leave from the conflict areas in the Nuba Mountains also because of the lack of livelihood and education.

The new refugees further warned that more refugees are on their way to South Sudan.

“Nearly 70 percent of new arrivals are children, and an estimated 10 percent suffer from malnutrition and measles,” said the UNHCR.

Since the start of the conflict in 2011, the Sudanese authorities refuse to allow humanitarian access to the civilians in the rebel held areas saying the SPLM-N fighters would also benefit from the aid, but the rebels denied the claim.

UN agencies estimate that some 262,000 Sudanese refugees from South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in camps in South Sudan and Ethiopia.

More than 227,500 Sudanese refugees are in Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan and about 35,000 refugees, mainly from Blue Nile, are in the Assosa region of Ethiopia.

(ST)

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