UN says number of South Sudan refugees exceeds one million

September 16, 2016 5:00 pm

This handout image provided by UNMISS (the Mission in South ) on July 11, 2016, shows some of the at least 3,000 displaced women, men and children taking shelter at the compound in Tomping area in Juba, . (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations refugee agency says fighting in South Sudan has forced more than one million people to flee the war-stricken country.
South Sudan is witnessing one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters as the “number of South Sudanese refugees sheltering in neighboring countries has this week passed the one million mark,” the UN refugee agency said in a statement on Friday.
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) added in its statement that another 1.61 million people were displaced inside the country.
Since fresh violence erupted in July, more than 185,000 people have fled the country, the UNHCR said, adding that most of those fleeing were women and children.
Some of these refugees are victims of “violent attacks, sexual assault, children (who) have been separated from their parents… and people in need of urgent medical care,” the agency stated.
It said the refugees in neighboring countries “arrive exhausted after days [of] walking in the bush and going without food or water.”
Most of those most recently uprooted have crossed into Uganda, bringing the total number of South Sudanese refugees in the country to nearly 375,000.
Other refugees have fled to western Ethiopia’s Gambella region, while others have headed to Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.
“These countries have commendably kept their doors open to the new arrivals,” the UNHCR said.

This handout photo provided by the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and released on July 16, 2016, shows people resting in the shade at the UN compound in Tomping area in Juba, South Sudan. (Photo by AFP)

South Sudan, according to the UN,  joins Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia as countries that have produced more than one million refugees.
The country gained independence in July 2011, but descended into war in December 2013, after President Salva Kiir accused the former vice president, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup to usurp power.
Numerous international attempts to reach a truce between the warring sides have failed.
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