“If the war doesn’t stop, refugee numbers will rise from 2.5 to three million in 2018.”
A newly arrived South Sudanese child at Kakuma reception centre stares at journalists as her mother and siblings interact with UN High Commissioner for refugees at Kakuma reception centre.
© UNHCR/Samuel Otieno
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, today launched a funding appeal for US$1.5 billion to support refugees fleeing the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan and for US$1.7 billion for people in need in the country during 2018.
With the conflict now in its fifth year, nearly 2.5 million South Sudanese have fled the country to six neighboring countries including Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.
Conflict and insecurity has now forcibly displaced 1 in 3 of the country’s population – either within South Sudan or across borders. Inside the country, 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
“The conflict is purging South Sudan of people.”
The number of refugees is projected to cross the 3 million mark by the end of this year, making South Sudan Africa’s largest refugee crises since the Rwanda genocide.
“The human cost of the South Sudan conflict has reached epic proportions,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “If the war doesn’t stop, refugee numbers will rise from 2.5 to three million in 2018. The conflict is purging South Sudan of the people who should be the greatest resource of a young nation. They should be building the country, not fleeing it. For as long as the people of South Sudan await peace, the world must come to their aid.”
Uganda, the largest host with over a million refugees, could end up hosting a further quarter million refugees more. Refugee numbers could exceed the one million mark in Sudan. Nearly 90 percent of the forcibly displaced are women and children and nearly 65 per cent are under 18. Women have reported rape and other forms of violence, the killing of their husbands, and the abduction of children during flight. Despite this, funding for the South Sudan refugee crisis remains dismally low, with only 33 per cent of the required funds sourced in 2017.
Nearly 7 million people remain in need of urgent assistance and protection.
Humanitarian needs in South Sudan continue to escalate at an alarming rate. Nearly 7 million people, including two million internally displaced, remain in need of urgent assistance and protection across the country. Many are at risk of disease malnutrition. Many children are unable to attend school or receive adequate medical care, and are often without shelter.
The humanitarian response plan for 2017 was 73 per cent funded, allowing the United Nations and it’s partners to reach 5.4 million people.
“The conflict in South Sudan has taken a brutal and deadly toll. Many millions have fled in fear for their lives. They now require our support,” said Mark Lowcock, while visiting Kakuma, Kenya together with the High Commissioner.
Pointing to the impressive and farsighted approach taken by the Kenyan authorities in support of the refugees, he added: “It is in the interest of everyone to continue to provide generous and continuous support to people affected by the crisis inside and outside the country.”