UNHCR seeks $99 million for worsening South Sudan and CAR crises

Briefing Notes, 10 January 2014

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 10 January 2014, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR is appealing today for US$99 million to help the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the worsening humanitarian crises in South Sudan and the Central African Republic. The money is both for the South Sudanese and Central Africans who have fled their countries as well as for those who are displaced internally.

The $99 million comprises $59 million for the South Sudan situation and $40.2 million for the Central African Republic crisis, both for the period till end March. It follows a joint appeal on 31 December by OCHA for $209 million for South Sudan and a 24 December 100 Day Plan for CAR covering $152.2 million in immediate support needs. Today's appeals reflect the worsening situations in both cases, with hundreds of thousands of people now affected.

In South Sudan, the situation has continued to deteriorate. Fighting has spread to seven of the country's 10 states. The number of South Sudanese fleeing to neighbouring countries has quickly increased, and now totals some 43,000 people. As of Wednesday, 32,443 South Sudanese had arrived in Uganda, 4,754 in Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp, some 6,000 in Ethiopia and at least several hundred in Sudan, with unconfirmed reports of thousands having fled there. Uganda is now seeing between 4,000 and 5,000 South Sudanese arriving every day.

Inside South Sudan some 232,000 people have been forced to flee their homes and are now displaced internally. This includes 60,500 people sheltering at 10 UN bases.

UNHCR's appeal is based on existing numbers of forcibly displaced and projections of additional displacement between now and April. It anticipates that refugee numbers could rise to 125,000 and that the number of people displaced within South Sudan could reach 400,000.

Today's supplementary budget appeal of $40.2 million for the Central Africa Republic crisis is designed to support more than one million (1,044,400) people. They include 86,400 refugees in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo who fled CAR in 2013, and 958,000 people who are displaced by the fighting in CAR, among them 8,000 refugees in Bangui mainly from the DRC and Sudan.

In the situations of both South Sudan and CAR, we are extremely concerned about the safety of refugees and displaced people, particularly with access being affected by the fighting and insecurity. In South Sudan for example, we continue to support an existing refugee population of more than 230,000 Sudanese in 10 camps. But the crises have displaced tens of thousands more people in both countries, and insecurity makes assisting them more expensive, having to resort to airlifts for example when roads are not safe.

UNHCR emergency operations include registering, sheltering and protecting refugees. They include providing supplies to displaced people, designing and managing camps for them as well as protecting the most vulnerable among them.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

For South Sudan:

  • In Juba, Kisut Gebre Egziabher on mobile +25 19 11 20 89 01
  • In Juba, Kitty McKinsey on mobile +254 735 337 608
  • In Geneva, Daniel MacIsaac on mobile +41 79 200 7617

For CAR:

  • In Bangui, Bernard Ntwari on mobile +236 72 675186
  • In Geneva, Babar Baloch on mobile +41 79 557 9106
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Crisis in the Central African Republic

Little has been reported about the humanitarian crisis in the northern part of the Central African Republic (CAR), where at least 295,000 people have been forced out of their homes since mid-2005. An estimated 197,000 are internally displaced, while 98,000 have fled to Chad, Cameroon or Sudan. They are the victims of fighting between rebel groups and government forces.

Many of the internally displaced live in the bush close to their villages. They build shelters from hay, grow vegetables and even start bush schools for their children. But access to clean water and health care remains a huge problem. Many children suffer from diarrhoea and malaria but their parents are too scared to take them to hospitals or clinics for treatment.

Cattle herders in northern CAR are menaced by the zaraguina, bandits who kidnap children for ransom. The villagers must sell off their livestock to pay.

Posted on 21 February 2008

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Ahead of South Sudan's landmark January 9, 2011 referendum on independence, tens of thousands of southern Sudanese in the North packed their belongings and made the long trek south. UNHCR set up way stations at key points along the route to provide food and shelter to the travellers during their arduous journey. Several reports of rapes and attacks on travellers reinforced the need for these reception centres, where women, children and people living with disabilities can spend the night. UNHCR has made contingency plans in the event of mass displacement after the vote, including the stockpiling of shelter and basic provisions for up to 50,000 people.

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Silent Success

Despite being chased from their homes in the Central African Republic and losing their livelihoods, Mbororo refugees have survived by embracing a new way of life in neighbouring Cameroon.

The Mbororo, a tribe of nomadic cattle herders from Central African Republic, started fleeing their villages in waves in 2005, citing insecurity as well as relentless targeting by rebel groups and bandits who steal their cattle and kidnap women and children for ransom.

They arrived in the East and Adamaoua provinces of Cameroon with nothing. Though impoverished, the host community welcomed the new arrivals and shared their scant resources. Despite this generosity, many refugees died of starvation or untreated illness.

Help arrived in 2007, when UNHCR and partner agencies began registering refugees, distributing food, digging and rehabilitating wells as well as building and supplying medical clinics and schools, which benefit refugees and the local community and promote harmony between them. The Mbororo were eager to learn a new trade and set up farming cooperatives. Though success didn't come immediately, many now make a living from their crops.

Mbororo refugees continue to arrive in Central African Republic - an average of 50 per month. The long-term goal is to increase refugees' self-reliance and reduce their dependency on humanitarian aid.

Silent Success

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