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S. Sudanese refugee influx in Sudan an emergency, says UNHCR

July 11, 2915 (JUBA) - The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has announced that some 14,000 South Sudanese, mainly women and children, have fled into Sudan in recent weeks, describing the situation as “an emergency within an emergency.”

South Sudanese queue to be registered in Sudan in March 2015 (Photo courtesy of the UNHCR)

The humanitarian situation in the young nation, the agency said, has deteriorated significantly over the past two months with the intensification of military operations in Upper Nile and Unity states by the South Sudan’s main warring factions.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced since violence broke out in the South Sudanese capital, Juba in mid-December 2013.

It is estimated that by the end of July, some 4.6 million people could be severely food insecure. the highest number since the beginning of the crisis in the young nation.

The security situation in South Sudan has deteriorated steadily over the past year since political in-fighting between President Salva Kiir and his former Vice-President, Riek Machar, and their respective factions erupted in the coutry 19 month ago. The hostilities subsequently turned into a full-fledged conflict that has caused more than 110,000 civilians to seek safety on bases belonging to the UN Mission in country (UNMISS).

Meanwhile, UNHCR said South Sudanese refugees continue to arrive in Gambella state of Ethiopia at a daily average rate of 180 people, with Pagak, Burbie, Akobo and Raad villages being their main crossing points.

In a statement issued on Saturday, UNHCR said the total number of new arrivals from South Sudan since 15 December 2013 reached 211 803 individuals of whom 19 415 were unaccompanied or separated children.

The new arrivals are mainly from Upper Nile State and claimed to have been fleeing generalized violence and food insecurity in South Sudan, the UN body said.

The general security situation in Gambella Region was reportedly calm, with no incident reported during the week. Accoeding to the UN refugee agency, the ethnic tensions in Pugnido camp reported last week were resolved following intense discussions and peace talks facilitated by the host government at regional and federal levels.

(ST).