Just how bad the situation has become in South Sudan is illustrated by UN statistics of people leaving to get away from renewed fighting in the world’s newest state.
A single day record on over eight thousand people crossed the border into Uganda last Thursday – a single day record since fighting flared up again early in July.
According to the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees about 26 500 South Sudanese, mostly women and children, have crossed the border into Uganda since July 7 when fighting broke out in and around the capital, Juba.
“Thousands continue to flee uncertainty and flight in South Sudan,” said the UNHCR’s Andreas Needham.
The influx is severely stretching the capacity of collection points, transit centres and reception centres, he said. Last Wednesday night, more than 7 000 people slept at Elegu collection point, significantly beyond its 1 000 people capacity. Similarly, Kuluba collection point is hosting 1 099 refugees, compared to its 300 people capacity. Torrential rains are further hampering registration efforts, he added.
Needham said new arrivals in Adjumani reported fighting was continuing between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing First Vice-President Riek Machar. There are reports from Magwi that armed gunmen continue to loot properties, forcibly recruit boys and young men and murder civilians.
Another Uganda People’s Defence Force convoy evacuating Ugandan nationals from South Sudan was expected at the weekend, he said, noting that on previous occasions, a large number of refugees have taken the opportunity to flee the country by accompanying convoys.