UNHCR appeals for accelerated help for refugees fleeing CAR, South SudanListen /
Over 1.8 million people have been displaced by the crises in South Sudan and the Central African Republic in what the UN refugee agency UNHCR says is one of the biggest population displacement Africa has seen in recent years.
UNHCR says the refugees and internally displaced people face appalling living conditions as lack of funding is limiting the ability of aid agencies to respond to the growing humanitarian needs.
The agency says 15 children from CAR died last weekend as a result of malnutrition and warns that many others are facing a similar fate due to lack of adequate food in the country.
Over 700,000 people are internally displaced in the CAR and a further 300,000 have fled into Chad, Cameroon and Ethiopia as refugees.
In South Sudan the United Nations estimates that close to 3.2 million people could be in need of humanitarian help by June this year.
Melissa Fleming is UNHCR Spokesperson in Geneva.
"We've identified the needs. We've identified the funds that are required and if you just look at South Sudan along at present, one billion of the UN requirements have not been met, and we are seeing signs of really desperate people in terrible states of health leaving both South Sudan and CAR. Very sadly over the week end, 15 malnourished children died before they could be saved. The problem is in both countries is also about lack of access because of ongoing fighting and insecurity. UNHCR does have a robust presence in both countries. In south Sudan UNHCR is still caring for thousands and thousands of refugees from Sudan, and we've seen that some of the IDPs are trying to access those camps because they are in such desperate state."
United Nations humanitarian appeals for both the CAR and South Sudan are seriously underfunded.
The CAR appeal has requested for $551 million but only nine per cent has so far been received while the South Sudan appeal for $1.27 billion has only received about $26 million.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.