60,000 refugees from South Sudan flee to Kenya, Sudan and Uganda
UNHCR says refugee flows from South Sudan into the three countries have doubled in the past 10 days alone, bringing the total to 60,000.
“In total, 60,000 people have fled the country since violence broke out in Juba last month, bringing the overall number of South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries since December 2013 to nearly 900,000,” UNHCR said in a statement issued to the media on Tuesday.
UNHCR is reminding all parties to the conflict in South Sudan of fundamental human right to seek asylum
Kenya has reported the arrival of 1,000 refugees, 7,000 have fled to Sudan while 52,000 have crossed into Uganda.
Some of the refugees, according to UNHCR, have reported that armed groups operating on roads to Uganda are preventing people from fleeing South Sudan.
New arrivals from Yei, a town in South Sudan, say they received letters warning them to evacuate the town in anticipation of conflicts between rebel and government forces.
Refugees have also reported that armed groups operating across different parts of South Sudan are looting villages, murdering civilians and forcibly recruiting young men and boys in to their ranks.
More than 85 per cent of the refugees arriving in Uganda are women and children under the age of 18, with many children having lost one, or both of their parents. Many took advantage of the opportunity to flee alongside Ugandan military convoys evacuating Ugandan nationals.
Both Kenya and Uganda, UNHCR said in statement, are reporting rising cases of severe malnutrition, particularly among very young children.
“UNHCR is reminding all parties to the conflict in South Sudan of fundamental human right to seek asylum and urging them to ensure that civilians are provided with unhindered access to safety as the number of refugees crosses a worrying milestone,” the statement said.
With over 2.6 million of its citizens forcibly displaced, the world’s youngest nation currently ranks among the countries with the highest levels of conflict-induced population displacement globally.