UN agencies seek $810m to help South Sudan refugees

Humanitarian agencies are seeking $810 million from donors to aid South Sudanese refugees in 2015.

This was disclosed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, Antonio Guterres.

Mr. Guterres warned that unless armed hostilities ended and a peace agreement was reached, total refugee outflow to neighboring countries could reach 821,000 in 2015.

“UNHCR and its partners are calling for a boost in funding to save lives and seek longer-term durable solutions for the refugees,” UNHCR said in the 2015 Regional Response Plan for the South Sudan Refugee Emergency. “Thanks to governments’ open border policies, refugees fleeing South Sudan have had access to asylum on a prima facie basis. The refugees have also benefited from unrestricted access to host countries’ territory.”

Mr. Guterres noted that UNHCR and its partners had closely coordinated with governments to ensure physical protection of refugees and the full respect of the civilian character of refugee camps and sites.

The UN refugee agency said basic registration had been completed in all countries, while individual registration and biometrics had been done for 87 per cent of the South Sudanese refugees in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.

The South Sudanese civilian population at large was bearing the brunt of the conflict, with some 1.4 million people uprooted and another half a million taking refuge in neighbouring countries.

More than 97,000 people remained in compounds of the UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, in very difficult conditions.

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The continuing violence could also precipitate famine in the country, where millions suffered from food insecurity and varying degrees of malnutrition as they could not plant, grow and harvest crops due to their forced displacement.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed who inaugurated the 2015 Regional Response Plan in Nairobi, called on donors to mobilise resources to help avert refugee crisis.

Ms. Mohamed said humanitarian agencies carried out the regional refugees’ needs assessment and concluded that 810 million dollars was required for the year 2015.

“I appeal to the international community to assist in the mobilisation of these resources in order to facilitate an effective response to the refugee crisis in South Sudan,” she said.

Ms. Mohamed also commended donor agencies for their generous contributions towards the South Sudan Crisis Response Plan for 2014.

She said the cessation of hostilities and the negotiation of an effective peace agreement held the key for stability in South Sudan.

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“With the prevailing cessation of hostilities, it is our hope that the parties to the conflict will quickly reach an agreement on the transitional governance mechanism necessary to restore peace in South Sudan,” Mr. Mohammed said.

(Xinhua/NAN)

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