Neighbouring countries “straining” from influx of South Sudanese refugees

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Refugees from South Sudan are transported from Elego town to the Numanzi Transit Center where meals and temporary accommodation are provided by UNHCR in Adjumani, northern Uganda. Photo: UNHCR/Will Swanson

As people continue to flee insecurity in South Sudan, neighbouring countries are "straining" from the weight of absorbing the displaced, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.

UNHCR says there are some 930,000 South Sudandese refugees in the region but that number is on track to reach one million "within a matter of weeks."

Dianne Penn has the story.

UNHCR is concerned that as the refugee population grows, there won't be sufficient funding to meet basic needs.

The agency reports that so far this year, Uganda has received 110,000 South Sudanese while another 100,000 have found refuge in Sudan.

UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards said the majority of those arriving in Uganda were spurred by the outbreak of violence last month.

"The accounts we are getting from them point to a breakdown in law and order in their home areas. People site rampant violence; killings and clashes between government forces and armed groups. They also report armed groups robbing civilians. There are reports of extortion of money people, there are reports of sexual assaults against women, armed groups reported to be abducting children aged 12 and above from schools; threats, disappearances are said to be on the rise."

UNHCR has appealed to the international community to support countries which protect and assist South Sudanese refugees.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’05″

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