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South Sudan refugees in the north swell to 26,000
Published on 25-07-2016 - at 01:39' by Daily Monitor

Reports indicate that on Wednesday, more than 7,000 people slept at Elegu collection point far beyond its capacity.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has reported that more than 26,000 people have fled South Sudan into Uganda over uncertainty in their country.

In a statement about the state of refugees due to the current situation in South Sudan, UNHCR said the largest number of those who have crossed are children and women who make up more than 90 per cent.

“Since fighting erupted on July 7 between forces loyal to President Kiir and his deputy Dr Riek Machar, about 26,468 people have crossed into Uganda’s northern region, 24,321 in the previous six days alone.

“An estimated 8,337 refugees crossed into Uganda from South Sudan, a new record high since the influx began. An estimated 6,500 crossed into Elegu, 659 into Moyo, 156 into Lamwo and 642 into Oraba while 380 arrived in Kiryandongo Reception Centre,” he said.

The influx, the statement said, is stretching the capacity of collection points, transit centres and reception centres. Elegu collection point is full to the extent that it is not possible to conduct a head count.

New arrival figures, therefore, are based on an analysis of trends throughout the day.

The minister in-charge of refugees could not be reached to comment on government plans to handle the increasing number of refugees because the minister’s known telephone numbers were off.

However, Uganda Media Centre director and government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said there is already a disaster preparedness team at Elegu border comprising the UPDF, a team from Prime Minister’s office and UNHCR. The team is providing immediate food, shelter and security.

“The first action is to receive and document them. Documentation enables us know bona fide South Sudanese because we have had cases of other persons who are not South Sudanese.

“We have had Kenyans, Koreans and Chinese. I expect the team at the border to liaise with their embassies for immediate help,” he said.

On Wednesday night, more than 7,000 people slept at Elegu collection point far beyond its 1,000-person capacity.

Similarly, Kuluba collection point is hosting 1,099 refugees compared to its 300-person capacity. Torrential rain is further hampering registration efforts.

UNHCR says new arrivals in Adjumani report continued fighting between forces loyal to President Kiir and his deputy Dr Machar.There are reports that armed gunmen continue to loot property, forcibly recruit boys and young men and murder civilians in Magwi.

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South Sudan refugees at the Elegu refugees collection centre in Elegu Trading Centre, Atiak Sub-county, in Amuru District last Friday. Photo by Julius Ocungi.

Kwamamaza
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