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

 

Leaked: UK Counter-Terrorism Training Material

The PREVENT Strategy has permeated all aspects of public life in the UK. It is important that the training provided to public sector workers to implement the strategy is scrutinised for its empiricism. To this end, CAGE has released the most comprehensive leak of PREVENT training material so far. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Aid Urgently Needed For Drought-Stricken Ethiopia

As the severity of ongoing drought in Ethiopia is exacerbated by the arid effects of ‘super El Nino’, ChildFund New Zealand is appealing to more New Zealanders to contribute to their growing aid response. More>>

'Very Concerned' After Court Ruling: UNHRC On Transfer Of 267 People From Australia To Nauru

Most of these people were reportedly brought to Australia from Nauru to receive medical treatment and are in a fragile physical and mental state. The group includes more than 12 women and at least one child who have allegedly suffered sexual assault or harassment while in Nauru. The group also includes 37 children born in Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Sanctions To Be Lifted: NZ Welcomes Implementation Of Iran Nuclear Deal

Duty Minister Nikki Kaye has welcomed the next stage in the historic nuclear deal between Iran, the Five Permanent (P5) members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany... “New Zealand has now started the domestic process for removing the UN sanctions." More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Davos Reports: 62 People Own Same Wealth As Half The World

Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago, according to an Oxfam report published today ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites in Davos.. More>>

ALSO:

Jakarta: UN Secretary-General On Attacks

The Secretary-General condemns the bombings and gun attacks in Jakarta today... there is absolutely no justification for such acts of terrorism. He hopes the perpetrators of today's attacks will be swiftly brought to justice. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news