JUBA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- The number of South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries has increased by more than 100,000 since the beginning of 2015 with the majority arriving in Sudan, the UN humanitarian agency said on Monday.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest report that more than 54,000 people mainly from Northern Bahr el Ghazal have fled from South Sudan while about 28,000 South Sudanese - 86 percent of them women and children -- have sought refuge in Uganda.
"In total, more than 700,000 South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring countries since December 2013. Yet, the refugee response remains dire under-funded," OCHA said in its Humanitarian Bulletin received by Xinhua.
The UN requires 1.96 billion U.S. dollars to respond to humanitarian needs in 2016. So far it has received only 222 million dollars representing a meager 8 percent of the funds it needs.
The conflict broke out in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup which he denied, plunging the country into fighting along ethnic lines that has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than 2.3 million people from their homes and 200,000 live in UN protection camps.
The UN refugee agency said the refugees cite insecurity, intense famine and the high cost of living as the reasons for their flight.
According to OCHA, some 12,000 people have crossed into the northeastern province of Haut-Uele in the Democratic Republic of Congo, mostly from Western Equatorial. The conflict in Western Equatorial also forced more than 10,400 people from Source Yubu and Ezo to seek asylum in the Central Africa Republic.
In northeastern Kenya, OCHA said the number of new arrivals from South Sudan has risen from an average of 100 people a month at the start of 2016 to 350 people a week over the past two months.
"This includes some 4,185 South Sudanese refugees who have arrived at Kakuma camp this year, the majority of whom are children and women," it said.
The South Sudanese refugees arriving in Kakuma refugee camp is going to be affected by the closure of the camp by Kenyan authorities.
Kenya's Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Interior Karanja Kibicho said last week that increased security threats has forced the government to reconsider hosting refugees from regional countries which are facing political conflicts.
"Under the circumstances, the government having taken into consideration its national security interests has decided that hosting of refugees has to come to an end," Kibicho.
The decision to shut down the two largest refugee camps in Kenya has been roundly condemned by the humanitarian agencies who have urged Kenya to reconsider its decision.