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High refugee influx from South Sudan overwhelm aid services

By Gloria Nakajubi

Added 23rd July 2016 08:53 AM

In a statement released on Friday by UNHCR, an estimated 8,337 refugees crossed into Uganda from South Sudan on Thursday high a new record high since the influx began and in 2016.

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Families wait after they have find shelter at Saint Joseph's church compound in Juba. Many have fled to Uganda to escape the fighting. PHOTO/AFP

In a statement released on Friday by UNHCR, an estimated 8,337 refugees crossed into Uganda from South Sudan on Thursday high a new record high since the influx began and in 2016.

In just the last six days, a total of 24,321 people have crossed into Uganda following uncertainty and fighting in South Sudan.

The fighting that erupted on July 7 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Reik Machar has seen many people run for safety in neighboring states with more than 90% of these being women and children.

In a statement released on Friday by UNHCR, an estimated 8,337 refugees crossed into Uganda from South Sudan on Thursday high a new record high since the influx began and in 2016.

According to the statement, an estimated 6,500 crossed in Elegu, 659 in Moyo, 156 in Lamwo and 642 in Oraba while 380 arrived in Kiryandongo Reception Centre.

“The influx is severely stretching the capacity of collection points, transit centres and reception centres,”reads the statement. Adding that at some centres such as Elegu, it has become impossible to conduct a head count.

“On Wednesday night, more than 7,000 people slept at Elegu collection point, significantly beyond its 1,000 person capacity. Similarly, Kuluba collection point is hosting 1,099 refugees, compared to its 300-person capacity,”

But more worrying according to the statement is that reports by the new arrivals indicate continued fighting with armed gunmen looting properties, forcibly recruiting boys and young men, and murder of civilians in Magwi County in South Sudan.

Amidst the increased influx, the refugee agency recently expressed concerns over the insufficient funding that has seen them struggle to provide critical interventions such as water sanitation, shelter, health and hygiene. It was established that just about 17% of the required $638m funding for this year.

South Sudan currently ranks among the countries with the highest levels of conflict-induced population displacement globally.

Nearly one in four of the South Sudan’s citizens is displaced within its borders or in neighboring countries. This has affected about 2.6 million people against a population that stood at 11.3 million in 2013.  

The Ugandan army recently evacuated over 30,000 Ugandan citizens who were trapped in South Sudan.

 

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