UNICEF warns of worsening South Sudan refugee crisis

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-21 04:34:24|Editor: Zhou Xin
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KAMPALA, June 20 (Xinhua) -- As the world marked World Refugee Day on Tuesday, the UN's child agency warned that the South Sudan refugee crisis is worsening, noting that over 1,000 children flee the country everyday.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in a statement issued on Tuesday said the region's refugee crisis has become a children's crisis.

"More than one million children have been forced from their homes in South Sudan, often amid horrific violence," said Unicef's Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Leila Pakkala.

"Day after day, week after week, they are being received by countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Despite great efforts on many fronts, the systems in these countries are tremendously stretched."

Since violence erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, more than 1.8 million people have crossed into neighboring countries.

In just one year, the population of refugees in Uganda has more than doubled from 500,000 to more than 1.25 million, making Uganda now host to the fastest growing refugee emergency in the world, according to UN figures.

UNICEF said 86 percent of all refugees in Uganda are women and children.

The agency said such numbers are placing excessive pressure on state and host community resources, especially social services that are critical to children's well-being.

According to the Ugandan government and UN agencies, over 8 billion U.S. dollars is needed for both emergency response and resilience interventions to Uganda's refugee and refugee-hosting population over the next four years.

Within this appeal, UNICEF in Uganda requires nearly 50 million dollars in 2017 as well as 30 million dollars in each year from 2018-2020 to provide critical health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, early childhood development, and child protection interventions among others.

For Ethiopia and Kenya, as part of their Humanitarian Action for Children's Appeal for Ethiopia and Kenya, UNICEF requires 13.6 million dollars to respond to the new influx of South Sudanese refugees in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia, and 7.3 million dollars for the refugee response in Kenya.