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Sudan Tribune

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Over 7,000 people die in Unity state due to conflicts: OCHA

February 11, 2016 (JUBA) -At least 7,165 people have died in Unity state due to violent conflicts since 2013, a report from the United Nation Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has revealed this week.

The report said the finding was based on high mortality rates in Unity state, which involved 24 communities’ members of five counties that were hard-hit by the two year of the conflict. It said a total of 829 deaths were caused by drowning in rivers, usually when people fled attacks for hiding in swamps, from the period of 2014 to late 2015.

However, children under five years of age and below were most affected, accounting to more than 80 per cent of the estimated deaths by drowning, and nearly 10 per cent of other types of violent deaths.

The study estimated that 4,155 among children in the surveyed communities were separated from their families, and an estimated 890 people abducted, 85 per cent of whom were females, over the course of the year.

“The impacts of the crisis on these communities are shocking,” said Sue Lautze, the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, whose office coordinated the survey between November and December 2015.

“People suffered both terrible violence and a lack of access to humanitarian assistance and protection at critical periods of 2015. It is absolutely vital that humanitarian assistance and protection be scaled up massively in Unity [state],” he said.

One and half of all households in the survey identified as internally displaced persons (IDPs), the majority of them were headed by women.

Over the course of the year, households became 20 per cent smaller, reducing from an average of ten people to an average of eight. Many of them have fled to United Nations manned Protection of Civilians (POC) site.

“One-half of all households sent at least one person to a POC site. Some 86 per cent of households recorded at least one direct shock over the last year, including death, abduction, displacement or separation of family members,” the statement said.

Most people’s properties were all looted, including their livestock and goods by either side of warring groups.

The conflicts in Unity state has been worsened as both warring parties have been accused of growth human rights violations and crimes against humanity in the area.