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UNHCR chief appeals for massive humanitarian support for South Sudan

Article / Review by on January 9, 2012 – 7:09 pmNo Comments

UNHCR chief appeals for massive humanitarian support for South Sudan

Relieved Sudanese youngsters rest after arriving at Doro refugee camp in South Sudan. High Commissioner António Guterres called on the international community to do more to support the relief effort and avert a massive crisis.Relieved Sudanese youngsters rest after arriving at Doro refugee camp in South Sudan. High Commissioner António Guterres called on the international community to do more to support the relief effort and avert a massive crisis.

DORO CAMP, South Sudan, January 9 (UNHCR) – UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on Monday called on the international community to provide “massive” humanitarian support for South Sudan, which faces major forced displacement crises.

Without such help, Guterres warned after meeting refugees in Doro camp, “it will not be possible to respond…We could face a humanitarian disaster of enormous proportions.” Doro hosts at least 28,000 people who have fled to South Sudan to escape fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile state between the Sudan armed forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North.

Six months after South Sudan celebrated its status as a newly independent country, the disputed border area with Sudan has become a flashpoint and a gateway for tens of thousands of refugees.

Guterres noted that South Sudan was facing “massive suffering and a multiplicity of crises – more than 80,000 people have fled Blue Nile and South Kordofan States of Sudan. There is fierce inter-communal violence and displacement in its own state of Jonglei.” He added that the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group from Uganda, was also causing problems in South Sudan.

The High Commissioner talked to several refugees during his visit to Doro, including a woman who had just fled with her three children from Blue Nile state. “We thought we would have peace for longer. Then a bomb came and we just ran,” she told Guterres.

Exhausted, hungry and vulnerable, women and children walk several days to seek safety across the border in Northern Upper Nile state, where Doro is located. Most of the menfolk have stayed behind to watch over their property and territory.

Aside from the 28,000 in Doro, up to 25,000 other civilians have sought refuge in other parts of Upper Nile state. Continuing conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile state continues to drive large numbers of people across the borders with South Sudan and Ethiopia.

“Women are crying because their children are sick. Women are crying because their children are hungry,” said South Sudan’s Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Joseph Lual Achuil, who accompanied the High Commissioner to Doro.

UNHCR is conducting a major airlift of aid to remote refugee sites and working with partners to erect shelter and deliver basic services for the refugees. With at least 1,000 refugees arriving in Doro every week, Achuil called for more international aid during the current two-month dry season. If we wait, he said, “this area will be locked in.”

Meanwhile, thousands of refugees also continue to seek refuge in South Sudan’s Unity State. Fleeing bombing, most of them arrive in the border village of Yida. In a meeting with refugee leaders from Sudan’s South Kordofan state, the High Commissioner urged residents to move to a safer UNHCR settlement some 50 kilometres from the border.

Refugee leaders claimed, during a meetng with Guterres, that there were at least 300,000 people hiding in the Nuba mountains across the border, terrified and quickly running out of food and water. This could not be independently confirmed.

The High Commissioner also met southerners returning from Sudan to establish new lives in South Sudan. Exhausted after a week-long barge trip down the Nile, the new citizens move on to their final destinations, often assisted by UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration. More than 350,000 people of South Sudanese origin have returned since independence. An estimated 700,000 remain in Sudan.

By Melissa Fleming in Doro Camp, South Sudan

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South Sudan: Appeal for Doro Camp
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres visits refugees in South Sudan and says international assistance is “absolutely crucial.”/Added on Jan 11, 2012

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About the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.

In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives.

Today, a staff of some 7,685 people in more than 125 countries continues to help some 33.9 million persons.

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

More about United Nations (UN)

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