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More than 200,000 people displaced in South Sudan: UN

Updated: 2014-01-09 05:09
( Xinhua)

UNITED NATIONS - The ongoing conflict in South Sudan has already uprooted more than 200,000 people from their homes, a UN spokesman confirmed here Wednesday.

"The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that an estimated 201,000 people have been internally displaced by the current crisis in South Sudan since December 15," Farhan Haq, UN acting deputy spokesperson, told reporters at the daily briefing.

"Some 85,000 people are estimated to be displaced in Mingkaman and surrounding areas in Awerial County, Lakes State," Haq added.

According to OCHA, food, healthcare, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene remain the top priorities for humanitarian response, while humanitarian access continues to be constrained by active hostilities, attacks on aid workers and assets, interference with humanitarian activities and other obstacles.

Humanitarian flights into Bor, the capital of Jonglei State, have been severely disrupted as a result of the fighting in the area, said Haq.

"Aid agencies continue to engage with all parties to the hostilities to secure safe access to civilians in need," he added.

Aid agencies are also doing contingency planning for any potential additional displacement in the coming weeks and for the rainy season starting in May, Haq said.

The conflict in South Sudan began on December 15 when President Salva Kiir's government claimed that soldiers loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, dismissed in July, launched an attempted coup.

The Security Council adopted a resolution last week to send a reinforcement of 5,500 troops and 440 policemen to increase the overall force levels of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in an effort to protect civilians.

At the summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held on Friday in Kenyan capital Nairobi, the East African bloc issued a communique, condemning the violent escalation of conflict and demanding an immediate ceasefire in South Sudan.

The South Sudanese government said earlier that it agreed on the ceasefire, but Machar rejected it, demanding a mechanism to monitor the ceasefire.

Haq said Tuesday that UNMISS continues to protect approximately 62,000 civilians at its bases, with humanitarian actors providing relief and support.