World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN: Ethiopia faces wave of refugees from South Sudan

Ethiopia faces wave of refugees from South Sudan, warns UN relief official

23 July 2014

South Sudan is the most rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the world today, according to a senior United Nations relief operations official who made an urgent appeal for desperately-needed funding for Ethiopia, which hosts 180,000 mostly women and children South Sudanese refugees.

John Ging, Operations Director for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), just back from Ethiopia, told a news conference at UN Headquarters today: “This is a manmade problem – the result of a political disagreement between two powerful individuals. It is tragic to see this happening in the world’s youngest country, whose independence we were so recently celebrating.”

“It is imperative that parties to the conflict, and those with influence over them, find a peaceful political solution urgently,” Mr. Ging said. “The people of South Sudan must not be treated as expendable pawns in this power struggle.”

An estimated 180,000 refugees have arrived in Ethiopia from South Sudan since the violence erupted in late 2013 with numbers set to reach 300,000-350,000 by the end of this year.

He said that in addition to the more than 400,000 refugees who have fled their homeland for neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia, the “desperate situation” in South Sudan has forced 1.1 million people to leave their homes inside the country and 3.8 million victims of the war inside South Sudan require humanitarian aid.

Mr. Ging said 90 per cent of those arriving in Ethiopia are women and children and 70 per cent are under the age of 18. People are arriving in a dire state, with some 30 per cent of new arrivals under the age of five acutely malnourished, and 10 per cent severely acutely malnourished, meaning that without urgent treatment they are likely to die of starvation.

“I applaud the generosity of the people and Government of Ethiopia, who are now hosting almost 600,000 refugees” from neighbouring countries South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.

“Despite not being a rich country, they have consistently kept their borders open, and are an example of international standard for the treatment of refugees in practice. It is now the international community's turn to step up and shoulder its responsibilities to share the burden with Ethiopia.” So far, of the 193 Member States of the United Nations, only 18 are funding the appeal.

The $211 million South Sudanese refugee appeal for Ethiopia is just 25 per cent funded, which means that across the board delivery of service does not meet what the refugees are entitled.

“Only 5 per cent of school-age children in Gambella have access to education, which sets us up for huge problems down the road, and in the camp I visited only 20 per cent of people had shelter which meets international humanitarian standards,” noted Mr. Ging.

“Camps are overcrowded and, with the onset of the rainy season, the danger of a disease epidemic is very real,” he said. “Urgent funding is needed to ensure that those fleeing violence in South Sudan can live decently, healthily and with dignity.”

With the prospects of famine on the horizon in South Sudan, and no prospect for an end to the conflict, humanitarians must prepare for the worst in South Sudan and neighbouring countries.

The veteran humanitarian official described South Sudan as one of three “mega” crises in the world today on a trajectory to becoming a real catastrophe. The two other “mega” humanitarian crises today are Syria and the Central African Republic.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news