Home | News    Sunday 20 August 2017

Ethiopia hosts nearly 400,000 South Sudanese refugees: UN

Wrist-banding of newly-arrived south Sudanese refugees at the Pagak entry point, Gambella. On 4 November 2016 (UNHCR Ethiopia-Photo)

August 19, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) – The number of South Sudanese refugees living in Ethiopia as of 31 July 2017 was 382,322, a United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) official disclosed on Friday.

“The total number of arrivals since January 1 is 36,939, bringing the total number since the onset of the emergency in September 2016 to over 90,000,” Diana Diaz, UNHCR’s Associate External Relations and Reporting Officer told Anadolu.

She further added that an average of 175 persons arrive in Ethiopia daily.

65% of the total registered new arrivals since September 2016 are children, including 19,848 unaccompanied and separated children, said Diaz.

South Sudan has experienced a civil war since a split between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, escalated in December 2013. Tens of thousands of people have reportedly been killed and over 2 million displaced in less than five years.

A peace deal brokered by the East African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in August 2015, collapsed when fresh violence broke out in the South Sudanese capital, forcing Machar to flee into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He currently lives in South Africa.

OVER I MILLION IN UGANDA

Meanwhile, UNHCR said Thursday that the numbers of South Sudanese refugees currently living in Uganda exceeded one million, amid calls for urgent additional support.

Majority of the refugees, the agency said, are women and children.

“Over the past 12 months, averages of 1,800 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda every day,” UNHCR said in a statement.

“In addition to the million there, a million or even more South Sudanese refugees are being hosted by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic,” it added.

According to the UN agency, however, over 85% of the refugees who have arrived in Uganda are women and children below 18 years.

“Recent arrivals continue to speak of barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls, and kidnapping of boys for forced conscription,” said UNHCR.

As of refugees arrive, it said, aid delivery is increasingly falling short.

The UN agency underscored that although $674 million is needed for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda this year, so far only a fifth of this amount, or 21%, has so far been received. But although a total of $883.5 million is needed for the South Sudan situation, only $250 million has reportedly been received.

(ST)