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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South Sudan Crisis: Urgent Appeal

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The signing of a peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the army of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement on 9 January, 2005, ended 21 years of civil war and signaled a new era for southern Sudan. For some 4.5 million uprooted Sudanese – 500,000 refugees and 4 million internally displaced people – it means a chance to finally return home.

In preparation, UNHCR and partner agencies have undertaken, in various areas of South Sudan, the enormous task of starting to build some basic infrastructure and services which either were destroyed during the war or simply had never existed. Alongside other UN agencies and NGOs, UNHCR is also putting into place a wide range of programmes to help returnees re-establish their lives.

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When the peace treaty that ended 21 years of civil war between north and south Sudan was signed in 2005, some 223,000 Sudanese refugees were living in Uganda – the largest group of Sudanese displaced to a neighbouring country.

Despite South Sudan's lack of basic infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals and roads, many Sudanese were eager to go home. In May 2006, the UN refugee agency's Uganda office launched an assisted repatriation programme for Sudanese refugees. The returnees were given a repatriation package, including blankets, sleeping mats, plastic sheets, mosquito nets, water buckets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, soap, seeds and tools, before being transported from the transit centres to their home villages. As of mid-2008, some 60,000 Sudanese living in Uganda had been helped back home.

As of the beginning of May 2008, some 275,000 Sudanese refugees had returned to South Sudan from surrounding countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. Some 125,000 returned with UNHCR assistance.

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