Renewed fight in Upper Nile displaces 40,000

By William Madouk Garang

The UN children Agency – UNICEF has said renewed fighting in restless Upper Nile state has displaced between 22,000 to 40,000 people from Kodok area, west of the White Nile River.

According to the UN agency, many families continue to cross the border to neighboring Sudan in search of safety while others fled south towards Malakal where more than 2,600 (that is on rise) sought shelter after years of violence in the region.

In a press statement extended to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, the acting UNICEF representative in South Sudan, Jesper Moller said the condition in Upper Nile State is deeply alarming and shocking.

“It is a deeply disturbing and alarming situation unfolding in Upper Nile State,” said Jesper Moller in a statement.

“Grave human rights violations are being reported against children and women, along with increasing numbers of deaths and injuries. Children have been separated from their families, and schools have become shelter for those fleeing for their lives,” Moller added.  

The Children agency – UNCIEF stated that 75 percent of those escaping from the conflict are mainly women and children.

They are running in search of safety to neighboring settlements, UN bases and others into the bush and swamps. Thousands have reportedly travelled to the border or crossed into Sudan.

The UN agency cited that they are working with partners to ensure safe passage of personnel and supplies to reach to those displaced and those who remained in the conflict zones.

“No violence against children is justifiable and we must see an end to the fighting – children’s lives depend on it,” says Moller.

The statement added that three Primary Healthcare facilities have been suspended in the area with reports of looting and destruction of facilities stopping vital health and nutrition services for women and children.

It’s further said Children continue to be in grave danger, facing a humanitarian crisis where hunger and malnutrition are at record levels, 70 percent of children are out of school and disease and gender-based violence are rife. “The Malakal Protection of Civilians Camp (PoC) is over capacity, services are stretched, and there are growing concerns that tensions may escalate, given the poor living conditions,” it continued.

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