South Sudan Now Largest Refugee Crisis in Africa

With no solution in sight, refugee numbers from South Sudan cross 1.5 million mark. An additional 2.1 million people are displaced inside South Sudan.

South Sudan refugee crisis cross 3.5 million mark
Alarming. More than 3.5 million South Sudanese displaced out of their homes. Uganda is hosting 698,000; Ethiopia 342,000; Sudan 305,000; Kenya 89,000 in Kenya; DRC 68,000; and CAR 4,900 of them.

By Lisa Schlein | VOA News,

More than three years of civil war in South Sudan has forced 1.5 million people to flee into neighboring countries, creating Africa’s largest refugee crisis and the third largest in the world after Syria and Afghanistan, the U.N. refugee agency reports.

Since fighting erupted between the government of President Salva Kiir and rebel forces led by First Vice-President Riek Machar in December 2013, the United Nations estimates more than 3.5 million people have become homeless.

More than 2 million people have been displaced within the country, and the rest — or more than 1.5 million — have taken refuge in six neighboring countries — Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Central African Republic.

Violence prompts people to flee

Intense fighting last July in the capital, Juba, prompted a huge uptick in the number of people fleeing South Sudan in 2016.

UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said more than 760,000 people fled across borders after the collapse of a peace deal between the government and opposition forces.

An average of 63,000 people were forced to leave the country every month. Some half-a-million had to flee in the last four months since September 2016.

“More than 60 percent of the refugees are children, many arriving with alarming levels of malnutrition — enduring devastating impact of the brutalities of the ongoing conflict,” he said.

Impact on nearby countries huge

Newly arriving refugees have reported widespread suffering inside South Sudan, including massacres, kidnappings, and rape.

The UNHCR said the refugees told aid workers that “fears of armed groups and threats to life, as well as acute food shortage,” forced them to leave their homes and seek asylum.

Spindler told VOA the impact of hundreds of thousands of refugees on neighboring countries has been huge.

“There are refugees in camps,” he said, “but there are many who are hosted by the local communities, which are some of the poorest in those countries. That is why it is so important that those countries and those communities continue to receive assistance.”

Appeal for funds comes up short

Spindler explained that with so many “large-scale displacements” around the world, UNHCR humanitarian operations are suffering from a lack of attention and chronic underfunding.

He said it was particularly worrisome in the case of South Sudan, given the large size of its refugee crisis. He praised the generosity of the host countries, but noted that his agency’s relief efforts were being hampered by a serious lack of money.

Last year’s appeal for $649 million, he noted, was funded to only 33 percent, making it extremely difficult to provide critical services, such as clean drinking water, food, health and sanitation facilities.

He said the UNHCR currently was working with authorities in the host countries to provide life-saving support and basic needs for the many South Sudanese arriving in desperate condition.

Uganda’s handling of refugees impressive

Uganda is hosting most of the South Sudanese refugees, nearly 700,000. Despite this huge burden, Spindler told VOA that the treatment of the refugees by the Ugandan authorities was exemplary in many ways.

“They are integrated into the community. They are allowed to have access to farming land. So, they are not all in camps,” said Spindler.

“So, the UNHCR approach is to help not just the refugees, but the communities hosting them, which are themselves, in some cases, very poor and in great need,” he said.

No end to crisis in sight

Spindler noted that no solution to this conflict, which was entering its fourth year, was in sight. As the numbers of refugees grew, so did the needs.

He said it was imperative that the international community responded to his agency’s appeal for $782 million so that it could carry out its regional humanitarian operations.

He said millions of people displaced inside Sudan, as well as the refugees and the host communities sheltering them in neighboring countries depended upon a good response to the appeal for their survival.

7 thoughts on “South Sudan Now Largest Refugee Crisis in Africa

  1. This is one of many reasons IGAD needs to be stronger and financially able to handle its own affairs. With these many refugees leaving their homes and most likely not returning, the horn needs leaders who can protect the needy from terrorists as well as giving more than shelter like Uganda to S. Sudan and Ethiopia is doing with Eritreans. Once the Somali cheese is situated, we shall also see good leadership finally with less and less Shabbab. We will look forward to greater Horn in the coming five years, God willing of course.

    1. Kid, sahsah amselu! Nska eti ab gezana medekesi hibna zehdernayo mo kab enda encheytina fas seriku zkhede dikha? Zbelaekumlu xahli tisebru si nsdetegna nhgiz kia tbl? Shinfila ilukum endiyu wedi Sheikh.

    2. Your idea or concept is right, but as long you have a pimp nation and government like of Ethiopia the horn will never be united and strong to work for the interest of the ppl of the horn. Even if weyane is gone tomorrow, no doubt it will be replaced by weyane like war lord.

    3. Core Point is to clear your heart hatred fm your heart and keep an Eye and guarantee this.You can Believe that i really did not opprecite what you’re saying now?but I read you and I read that you have plently of deficiene regarding this and what rolls in your heads?
      Sudan has spilt in two,Somalia is in khaos long ago and our Little neighbors are like a mail box and Ethiopia is broken so with who do you want to Eritrea to work with?Brother Fenkel..if you fall in the water,than you have two choices eather to swim or you drown in it.

  2. First some juntas will organize and convince the less intelligent majority that they are oppressed, and they (the junta) will promise to give them their independence, and give them prosperity and peace like never before. Then after they successfully finish their separatist agenda and separate the people and the resource from the main land. They will rule them like slaves. But it is too late for the people to realize what they have missed due to their separation from the main land. All the separatist junta promised was a lie. So sad. It always boils down to corruption and authoritarianism. (Sudan-SouthSudan, Ethiopia – Eritrea, NorthKorea-SouthKorea etc). Big deception happened to the general public. Easy to separate but impossibly difficult to re-unite. Losers !!!

  3. All around Eritrea has affected in different terrible problems and will fall and fainted soon if it has not happened any miracles,but there is a magician country nemed Eritrea .Eritrea is the model for all kinds of people around the Earth with a a strong and well-coach people ,we are hard family with hope for better and fantastic future,my Eritrea is a melodious song ,Eritrea is simply a bible with her,there is Everything,song,sorrow,war,love,peace,romance,fire,victory..finally ..Eritrea.

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