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Juba, May 5 – The United Nations and humanitarian agencies on Thursday appealed for $96 million to assist people fleeing conflict in Sudan across the border into South Sudan.
Peter Van der Auweraert, humanitarian coordinator ad interim in South Sudan, said more than 32,500 people, mostly South Sudanese nationals, have crossed into South Sudan since the outbreak of conflict in neighbouring Sudan on April 15, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The majority of those arriving, often with no belongings and very traumatized, are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance, including medical and psychosocial support, and transportation to their destination,” Auweraert said in a joint statement issued by UN and humanitarian agencies in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
The statement says $39.9 million of the total funding required will go to assist returning South Sudanese at the border as they move onward to their communities, while $53.9 million will be used to provide basic services to refugees in designated camps for six months.
In addition, it notes that a further $2.2 million is required to support third-country nationals with transportation assistance to their countries of origin.
Auweraert said the money that they are appealing for under the emergency response plan (ERP) will help speed up the provision of rapid assistance to those arriving.
He also noted that the funds will support the efforts of the government of South Sudan to help people move from the border as quickly as possible to avoid people remaining in hard-to-reach and possibly unsafe areas.
The UN agencies said the real number of daily arrivals into South Sudan could likely be higher as some people entered the country without registration.
The statement says daily arrivals are estimated to be around 3,500 individuals, of whom more than 90 percent of those arriving at the Joda border crossing point in Upper Nile State are South Sudanese who have spent days on the road from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.
The other nationals include Sudanese seeking asylum, Eritrean refugees, Kenyan and Somali migrants, and other third-country nationals.
“A potential 180,000 South Sudanese are likely to return in the next three months, and 10,000 third-country nationals are expected to transit through South Sudan, while 60,000 refugees are expected to arrive in the next six months if the conflict and tensions persist,” the statement says.
Auweraert said people are arriving at border areas that are extremely difficult to access, often in areas where the few existing roads are likely to flood when the rains start in the coming days.
“If we do not act now, there is a high risk that vulnerable families will be stranded in inhospitable border areas for the duration of the rainy season, which will increase their suffering and the costs of providing assistance,” he said.
Auweraert commended the government of South Sudan for continuing to keep their borders open to those fleeing Sudan, and also for the strong and collaborative working relationship with UN system members and partners to provide the necessary assistance and protection, and help people return to their countries of origin.
“We urge that sustainable solutions are found for these people and all those in South Sudan who deserve solutions pathways,” Auweraert said.