GENEVA, Fighting in South Sudan’s Unity and Upper Nile states has displaced over 100,000 people over the last two months, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on Tuesday.
According to UNHCR, 60,000 South Sudanese have fled the country since the beginning of 2015, with half fleeing to Sudan, and 15,000 to both Ethiopia and Uganda.
This brings the total of South Sudanese refugees to 555,000, while 1.5 million people have been internally displaced since December 2013.
Over 650,000 people have been furthermore deprived of humanitarian aid as aid organizations were forced to leave areas affected by fighting.
These trends are largely due to the rise in fighting as well as food insecurity, as official estimates place the number of South Sudanese not having access to sufficient food at 3.8 million, more than a third of the country’s 11 million-strong population.
UNHCR reported that its offices in Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda have all witnessed an increase in the number of arrivals in May.
“Last week alone, we saw 6,000 South Sudanese arriving in Sudan’s White Nile and South Kordofan states,” said UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards, adding that most were located in White Nile State where 87 percent of refugees are women and 72 percent children.
Some 6,100 South Sudanese refugees were also registered in Ethiopia’s Gambella region in May, compared to 4,800 in April.
Similarly, Uganda has also seen an increase of some 4,000 refugee arrivals over last month.
Given the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation on the South Sudanese side of the border, UNHCR and partner organizations expect the influx of refugees to grow.
UNHCR highlighted the difficulty of providing clean water, sanitation, health services, food and shelter given that the 2015 South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan, which covers refugee programs in neighboring countries, is only 10 percent funded.