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Updated On: Sunday, 22 September 2019

Over 100,000 Flee Fighting in South Sudan

Content by: South-South News

2 June 2015, New York, USA | Brendan Pastor – The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan continues as a fresh round of violence between warring factions in the country's Unity and Upper Nile states resulted in the displacement of over 100,000 civilians this week.

United Nations and aid officials have announced that an upsurge in fighting has also resulted in blocked humanitarian aid deliveries for 650,000 people as aid organizations were forced to withdraw.

During a press conference in Geneva, a spokesperson for the UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, said that this new round of displacement further compounds the country's crisis situation.

"Since the beginning of the year, some 60,000 South Sudanese have fled the country, mostly to Sudan, to Ethiopia and Uganda and bringing the total South Sudanese who have fled the country since December 2013 to more than half a million," Adrian Edwards, UNHCR's spokesperson, told reporters in Geneva.

In addition to over 550,000 refugees living in neighboring countries, officials said that the total of internally displaced persons is well over 1.5 million. This number has increased steadily since new rounds of violence erupted in December 2013. Further conflict will expand these numbers in the months ahead, officials warned.

But violence between militant groups is not the only cause of displacement. An unprecedented hunger crisis is also gripping the new country – the deepest crisis in its short history, brought on by drought, bad weather, and irregular aid deliveries.

The World Food Programme's country director Joyce Luma has said, "A staggering number of people are going hungry. This analysis is a chilling reminder to the world that South Sudan cannot be forgotten."

Much of the food insecurity is happening in regions plagued by violence, says Shaun Hughes, a programme leader for WFP in South Sudan.

"The projection for the coming lean season, which is the next 4 months, is that there will be 4.6 million people across South Sudan that are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and are acutely food insecure.

"In terms of the distribution slightly more than half of those 2.5 million are found in the most conflict affected areas that are still experiencing displacement within the current civil war in Greater Upper Nile," Hughes said.

Even still, concerns are also high for those outside of regions affected by conflict.

Angelina Nyandowur, a South Sudanese market woman, says, "It is very difficult to get food and everything here is very expensive and with the insecurity on the way it will become very difficult to find food."

According to reports, about 4.6 million people, or 40 percent of South Sudan's estimated population, face acute hunger in the next three months and will require urgent lifesaving food or livelihoods assistance.

Aid agencies like WFP and UNHCR are attempting to resolve the humanitarian crisis, but officials at the agencies note they are operating well below adequate funding levels. WFP alone is facing a $230 million shortfall, causing it to drastically reduce and re-evaluate operations in some of the most affected regions.

Officials are calling for immediate funding from donors and governments to restore normalcy to aid operations, as well as to continue distribution of essential food and water supplies.

"When there's only 10 percent funding you have to prioritize and that means that a number of services, including those that I mentioned – clean water, sanitation, health, food, shelter - all these things are really severely underfunded at this time," Edwards said.

"We have to prioritize further as the condition continues but obviously we hope that funds will come in."

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