NewsEast & Horn AfricaU.N. ramps up appeal for South Sudan refugees

Tue,23May2017

Posted on Thursday, 18 May 2017 15:27

U.N. ramps up appeal for South Sudan refugees

By Reuters

 South Sudan's President Salva Kiir attends a ceremony marking the 34th anniversary of the Sudan People's Liberation Army in the capital Juba, South Sudan, May 18, 2017. Photo: Bullen Chol/AP/SIPAU.N. agencies have raised their 2017 appeal for South Sudan's refugees on Monday (May 15), saying they needed at least 1.4 billion US dollars to help alleviate "unimaginable" levels of suffering.

 

UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) had earlier asked for 1.2 billion US dollars to support more than 1.8 million people fleeing fighting.

But even that was only 14% funded, the agencies said in a joint statement.

"The fact that the appeal for South Sudanese refugees is only 14% funded really is very telling about how we are failing them and the host countries if we don't accelerate this support," said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

Two years after its independence, South Sudan plunged into conflict in December 2013 after rivalry between President Salva Kiir and his then-vice president, Riek Machar, exploded into violence.

A 2015 peace deal was signed but the terms were never fully respected.

Urgent needs

Lingering suspicions between Machar and Kiir triggered a fresh bout of fighting in July 2016 and violence has since spread to many areas of the country.

The fighting has split the country along ethnic lines, spurred hyperinflation and plunged parts of the nation into famine, creating Africa's biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

The number of those displaced by fighting stands at 3.8 million, and 5.5 million people are facing hunger, according to WFP, with Uganda now hosting about 800,000 refugees from South Sudanese.

The onset of the rainy season is expected to make many roads unusable, making it harder for help to reach those affected.

"If we get the funding we need we can stave off the danger of famine spreading, but we urgently require additional resources to save lives and to pull the country back from the brink," said WFP executive director, David Beasley.

Many South Sudanese refugees have fled into neighbouring Uganda, Kenya, Sudan or Ethiopia, nations which are already struggling to provide enough food and resources for their own populations.



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