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South Sudan to mark 4th anniversary with more than 2.25 million displaced, continued conflict

Briefing notes

South Sudan to mark 4th anniversary with more than 2.25 million displaced, continued conflict

7 July 2015

In South Sudan, which on Thursday this week will mark its 4th anniversary of independence, refugee and internally displaced numbers have continued to rise. As of today, more 730,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries and some 1.5 million people have become internally displaced. In addition, South Sudan continues to receive refugees from neighbouring Sudan - almost 250,000 people, mostly from Sudan's Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

South Sudan's civil war and violence started in mid-December 2013. Political efforts so far have failed to bring an end to the conflict, and the outlook for the affected populations remains grim. Recent weeks have seen an escalation in violence in Unity and Upper Nile states, with heavy fighting forcing tens of thousands of people to flee to the bush and swamplands, to areas that are difficult to reach. This and a volatile and insecure situation prevent humanitarian access. Ongoing hostilities and a reported increase in human rights violations and abuses have contributed to additional displacement. Despite the rising numbers, the neighbouring countries of asylum have kept their borders open. Some 90 per cent of the new arrivals in these countries are women and children.

In Ethiopia, on average, every day, some 180 South Sudanese refugees arrive through four border crossing into the Gambella region. Ethiopia hosts over 275,000 South Sudanese, in addition to some 425,000 refugees of other nationalities. Capacity to accommodate and assist refugees from South Sudan and further new arrivals is set to improve with the recent allocation of new land for the construction of a sixth camp, near the existing Pugnido refugee camp.

Sudan has seen the highest arrival rate this year, with more than 38,000 South Sudanese entering the country in June alone. This has brought the total number of South Sudanese there to nearly 188,000. The refugees are arriving daily in White Nile, Khartoum, South and West Kordofan states, joining a population of about 350,000 South Sudanese who remained in Sudan after secession.

In Uganda, more than 155,000 refugees have arrived since December 2013, joining the 22,000 South Sudanese who had decided to remain in Uganda following their country's independence.

In Kenya, the refugee camps at Kakuma, have received 46,000 South Sudanese refugees, bringing the total camp population to 185,000, far beyond its capacity of 125,000. This has led to congestion and impacted assistance.

Refugee assistance programmes across the region are severely underfunded. UNHCR and 38 partners are requesting US$810 million to protect and assist up to 821,000 South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. To date this inter-agency appeal is only funded at 13 per cent ($US102 million). With refugees still arriving en masse, life-saving assistance including shelter and basic services are being prioritized. Resources remain insufficient to provide adequate food rations and health services, to prevent and treat acute malnutrition, to provide adequate potable water, and to construct latrines. Critically, about 60 per cent of refugee children are without access to quality primary education while only 15 per cent of adolescents are enrolled in school. Key barriers to quality education are expected to grow, such as overcrowding in classrooms, a lack of trained teachers, and a lack of recreational activities to support constructive social engagement.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Juba, Rocco Nuri on mobile +211 927 725 535
  • In Khartoum, Mohamed Elfatih Elnaiem on mobile +249 912 308 842
  • In Addis Ababa, Kisut Gebre Egziabher on mobile +25 19 11 20 89 01
  • In Kampala, Charles Yaxley on mobile +256 (0) 776 720 045
  • In Nairobi (regional), Terry Ongaro on mobile ++254 735 337 608
  • In Geneva, Adrian Edwards on mobile +41 59 557 9120
  • In Geneva, Karin de Gruijl on mobile +41 79 255 9213