UN reports increased number of Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, Ethiopia
May 11, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Continued insecurity in Sudan’s border regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile has created an additional refugee population in neighboring South Sudan and Ethiopia, the UN reported on Friday.
Sudanese refugees gather in a makeshift shelter after being displaced by conflict in Southern Kordofan earlier this year. (UN Photo_Paul Banks)
UN has already estimated that more than 418,000 people have been displaced since fighting between Sudanese government forces and indigenous rebels erupted in South Kordofan in June last year and later spread to Blue Nile in September.
According to Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), nearly 2,000 new refugees from Blue Nile had arrived in neighboring Assosa region in western Ethiopia so far in May.
“The refugees cited night-time killings, abductions and the burning of their crops as reasons for fleeing” the UN spokesperson said in a press release seen by Sudan Tribune.
Assosa region contains a refugee camp that is already hosting nearly 35,000 refugees mainly from Sudan.
Mahecic said they were making preparations for the possibility of further influx after refugees told UNHCR staff that more people were on their way.
UNHCR also reported that South Sudan’s Unity and Upper Nile states continue to receive an influx of Sudanese refugees whose number now stands at more than 100,000.
More than 3,200 refugees from the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan arrived in Unity State’s Yida settlements so far this month, UNHCR said, adding that this was “an average of about 550 refugees per day – nearly double the rate in April and six times that in March.”
The UN agency attributed the rise of refugee numbers to food shortages in South Kordofan, where Sudanese authorities are banning relief activities.
UNHCR also expressed deep concern over the proximity of Yida to sites of fighting between Sudan and South Sudan in disputed border regions.
Therefore, UNHCR said it continues to advocate for moving refugees at Yida at a safer distance from the border.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/UN-reports-increased-number-of,42571