The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported on Friday that the Refugee Agency is concerned about safety and well-being of some 100,000 people trapped in a town called Yei, south west of South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
According to the UNHCR’s spokesperson, William Spindler, ‘‘An inter-agency mission to Yei, led by UNHCR on Tuesday 27 September, observed that tens of thousands of displaced are sheltering in abandoned houses and smaller numbers in church compounds and are facing a serious shortage of food and medicine.”
The UN quotes the town church as saying over 30,000 people in Yei were displaced as a result of deadly attacks and looting of property between 11 – 13 September this year.
‘‘They joined several thousand others displaced from nearby Lainya County since mid-July, and up to 60,000 town residents who remain in Yei with no means to leave and who are now in as much need as those displaced by the conflict,’‘ a UNHCR statement added.
IOM (@UNmigration) September 28, 2016
The security situation in the town is believed to have deteriorated following renewed fighting between former vice president Riek Machar and incumbent president Salva Kiir’s forces in July this year. The UN reports that most of the people remain terrified given the volatile security situation in the country.
The UN also reports of the attendant humanitarian situation created. “Displaced people need food, household items, medicines and the children need access to schools. Food prices are skyrocketing, with basic commodities quickly disappearing from the market.
“Many internally displaced people have reported that their food stocks have been looted. Two local hospitals are functioning at reduced capacity,” the UN reports.
According to UN records, the security situation in South Sudan has forced more than 200,000 people to flee the country since 8 July 2016.
In total, the number of South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries to over 1 million. In South Sudan, more than 1.61 million people are internally displaced and another 261,000 are refugees from Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia, and Central African Republic.