Tide of Refugees Leading to ‘Dire’ Situation in South Sudan
Thousands of people fleeing continuing fighting in South Sudan is leading to a dire humanitarian situation in many areas. More than 200,000 people, mostly children and women, have been displaced in the country since December 15th, when fighting broke out between forces loyal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel army units. A further 32,000 have fled to neighboring countries, most of them to Uganda.
“The situation is reaching a tipping point as the numbers of people fleeing the conflict continue to swell daily. There is acute human suffering in the country with children and women bearing the brunt of the fighting,” said Hazel Nyathi, Acting Regional Director of Plan in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Plan is aiming to reach some 50,000 people with food assistance in Awerial County, where many civilians have come to escape intense clashes in nearby Bor. People are arriving by road, foot, and boat via the Nile. To date, some 85,000 people are now taking refuge in Awerial and Mingkaman.
"The situation on the ground in Awerial in humanitarian terms is very grim. Most of the people there have fled fighting in Bor in Jonglei State. They didn’t take anything with them, they haven’t had food, they haven’t had access to clean water, and don’t have shelter. In some cases the people are wounded and don’t have medical care," Nyathi said.
Plan had launched an appeal for US$10M to offer humanitarian support to thousands of children and their families who have sought sanctuary in Awerial. Funds raised will be used to supply the displaced families with basic humanitarian needs such as food, clean water, hygiene and sanitation over the next few months.
Plan has already registered more than 7,200 malnourished under five-year-old children for supplementary feeding in Awerial. It has also been providing clean water to 5,000 internally displaced persons who had sought refuge at a church in capital Juba.