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South Sudan refugees pushed to the edge
of survival amid declining external support  

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- Thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in the South Sudanese capital of Juba have been pushed to the margins due to lack of basic necessities like food, clothing and water.

During a recent interview with Xinhua, the internally displaced population revealed that their survival is at stake due to harsh living conditions in the temporary shelters.

The 2,000 IDPs who are part of the elderly women and children that fled conflict in border town of Yei following the renewed clashes last year are staring at an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

The internally displaced persons sheltered in temporary camps on the outskirts of Juba narrated their suffering thanks to dwindling food ration, inadequate water supply and outbreak of communicable diseases.

Rachel Agau Buol, 50-year-old, who was seated at her blue tent, appeared malnourished and fatigued after arriving from the nearby bush where she went to fetch acacia fruits and firewood to enable her prepare dinner for her family.

Buol appreciated the fact that many households in the war-torn country primarily use firewood for cooking purposes due to debilitating poverty since it is often the only available, accessible and affordable fuel in the capital.

“I risk my life to wake up very early in the morning to go and gather firewood in order to meet my family daily meal,” said Buol.

Speaking in her native Dinka, Buol, who is a mother of four daughters, said she fled her home with empty hands. Since then life has been a nightmare to her children.

“We have stayed for months without getting any assistance from the humanitarian agencies so we resorted to survival on wild fruits. Sometime we sleep with empty stomach when no one buys our acacia fruits and firewood,” Buol told Xinhua.

South Sudan’s conflict has entered its fifth year and the humanitarian crisis has continued to intensify and expand, on a costly trajectory for the country’s people.

Michael Adier Kuol, camp leader and a teacher by profession told Xinhua that the situation of people in the camp is critical and needs urgent solution.

“We don’t have food and enough shelters. Our previous tents distributed by China Aid worn-off. “We never receive another food ratio from the government or humanitarian organizations like World Food Program though they did assessment,” Kuol revealed.

Paul Dhel, deputy chairman of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, said the camp in the southern part of the city is now being considered as part of the internally displaced settlement in the country.

“We are engaging our partners particularly World Food Program (WFP) to see a possibility of reintegrating our communities back in their communities,” said Dhel.

According to the UN, some 4 million civilians have been displaced, two million live in internally displaced camps and 1.9 million are refugees in neighboring countries like Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.



UN says 800,000 South Sudanese refugees living in Sudan

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Wednesday said the number of South Sudanese refugees living in Sudan has now reached 800,000.

Noriko Yoshida, representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sudan, told a forum on the refugees issue that other sources estimated that this number is even higher.

This makes Sudan the country hosting the second largest number of South Sudanese refugees in the region, he said.

Sudan’s Vice President Hassabo Mohamed Abdul-Rahman, speaking at the forum, reiterated Sudan’s commitment to hosting the refugees and providing them with necessary needs.

He further urged the UN and donor countries to change some practices in allocating funds for the refugees and the hosting communities.

“We want most of the funds to go to the refugees and the host communities, and not to the organizations’ administrative operations,” he said, adding that is necessary to ensure that any money paid by donors actually goes to the refugees.

Sudan is hosting around 2 million refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, Somalia, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, Yemen and Syria.

On Aug. 15, 2016, Sudan decided to consider the South Sudanese fleeing the war in their home country as refugees, opening the door for the UN to provide aid to them in Sudan.

A large number of South Sudanese refugees have fled their homes to Sudan since the eruption of a civil war in mid-December 2013.


30 percent youngsters in conflict-stricken countries illiterate: UNICEF

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- Nearly three in 10 young people aged 15-24 living in countries affected by conflict or disasters are illiterate, tripling the global rate, the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) said Wednesday.

Niger, Chad, South Sudan and the Central African Republic—all countries with a long history of instability and high levels of poverty—are home to the highest illiteracy rates among young people of this age group, with 76 percent, 69 percent, 68 percent and 64 percent respectively.

“These numbers are a stark reminder of the tragic impact that crises have on children’s education, their futures, and the stability and growth of their economies and societies,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “An uneducated child who grows into an illiterate youth in a country ripped apart by conflict or destroyed by disasters may not have much of a chance.”

Girls and young women are at the biggest disadvantage when it comes to reading and writing, with a third of them in emergency countries failing to learn even the basics, compared to a quarter of boys, said UNICEF.

Yet, despite its role in leveling the playing field for the most vulnerable children and young people, education remains severely underfunded. Currently, only 3.6 percent of humanitarian funding goes to education for children living in emergencies, making it one of the least funded sectors in humanitarian appeals, it said.

UNICEF estimates that it will spend approximately one billion U.S. dollars a year on education programs over the next four years.

It urged governments and other partners to take action to tackle the education crisis affecting children and young people in emergencies.

“Education can make or break a child’s future,” said Fore. “For all children to fully reap the benefits of learning, it is key that they get the best quality education possible, as early as possible.”



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