Refugees fleeing South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) are in urgent need of assistance, especially those who have arrived in Ethiopia, Cameroon and Chad. We are appealing for increased support to meet these needs, the United Nations refugee agency announced today. “We are appealing to our partners and the Governments in these countries to help speed support to these populations – which although still relatively small in number are nonetheless in urgent need of assistance,” says Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The crises in South Sudan and CAR have caused one of the biggest internally displaced persons (IDP) and refugee problems Africa has seen in years, said Fleming at a news conference in Geneva. With very sparse support capacities, 1.8 million people across the region have been forcibly displaced. There are currently over 739,000 people who are IDP inside South Sudan, according to the UNHCR, and an additional 196,921 sheltering in neighboring countries. By June, an estimated 3.2 million people could be in need of assistance. The security of present food resources has already become a problem.
In CAR, 701,500 people are currently IDP and 290,801 have fled the country as refugees. Of the country’s 4.6 million people, more than half are in need of humanitarian assistance. The increasing numbers of new arrivals are far outpacing available resources. “In Chad, Cameroon, Ethiopia and other locations where refugees are arriving, the help effort for refugees arriving from these conflicts urgently needs stepping up,” Ms. Fleming stated. The most pressing needs are clean water, food, sanitation and shelter. Funding for both the South Sudan and CAR emergencies remains “far below needs.”
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