UNHCR and WFP seeks US$371 million for inter-agency operations to help South Sudan refugees

News Stories, 25 March 2014

© UNHCR/F.Noy
A young South Sudanese boy sits on a pile of belongings brought by his family when they fled their home and crossed the border into Uganda. Most of the displaced are women, children and older people.

GENEVA, March 25 (UNHCR) Amid the worsening crisis in South Sudan, the UN refugee agency and the World Food Programme this week appealed on behalf of partners and themselves for US$371 million in urgently needed support for the thousands of South Sudanese refugees arriving in neighbouring countries.

Since fighting erupted in mid-December between government troops and rival forces more than 204,000 people have fled to Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. With continuing insecurity and growing food shortages inside South Sudan, UNHCR expects the number of South Sudanese refugees across the region to reach 340,000 by the end of the year.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said Tuesday in Geneva that South Sudanese have recently been fleeing into neighbouring countries at a rate of nearly 2,000 per day, with most heading to Ethiopia and Uganda. Many of the refugees have been arriving exhausted, nutritionally weak and in poor health, having coming from areas of South Sudan experiencing severe food shortages.

The majority are women, children and older people. With some 708,900 people displaced inside South Sudan and 3.7 million at high risk of food insecurity, the potential for further cross-border movement is high.

"Given these trends, the regional emergency response announced yesterday will focus on protection activities and other life-saving needs. These include emergency food, water, sanitation and health," said Edwards, adding that UNHCR "will be developing and expanding refugee camps and other sites where basic services will be available."

Monday's appeal covers only the South Sudanese refugee population in neighbouring countries. UNHCR's work to help internally displaced people and the 235,000 mainly Sudanese refugees inside South Sudan is covered by separate budgets.

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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

South Sudan: Preparing for Long-Awaited Returns

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.

These programs include road construction, the building of schools and health facilities, as well as developing small income generation programmes to promote self-reliance.

South Sudan: Preparing for Long-Awaited Returns

South Sudan: The Long Trip Home

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.

Posted on 16 July 2008

South Sudan: The Long Trip Home

South Sudan: Adut's strugglePlay video

South Sudan: Adut's struggle

Thousands in war-torn South Sudan have lost their homes and livelihoods. When seventeen year old Adut lost her parents, she also lost her childhood by taking on the role of mom and dad for her young siblings. But, despite the everyday struggle, she is finding new skills and new hope in exile.
South Sudan: Grandma Abuk's ChildrenPlay video

South Sudan: Grandma Abuk's Children

Years of violence and bloodshed in South Sudan robbed Abuk of her seven children. When fighting returned last year, the old lady fled anew with her grandchildren, hampered by deteriorating eyesight.
South Sudan: No Home To Return ToPlay video

South Sudan: No Home To Return To

Philip and his family fled from their home in the South Sudan town of Bor last December and found shelter in the capital, Juba. Recently they decided to return home, despite the risks. It took three arduous days to get back, but then they got there they found that their home had been destroyed.