South Sudan: Refugee Exodus From Strife-Torn South Sudan Picks Up Momentum, UN Reports

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The agency is also preparing to return personnel to Yida in Unity state, where three national staff and partners have been continuing to serve the 77,000 refugees in Yida and Ajuong Thok camps close to the border with Sudan. But that plan is contingent on the deployment of additional UN peace-keepers.

Operating in Unity state remains dangerous and unpredictable and last week UNHCR lost six pick-up trucks to looters, who also helped themselves to barrels of fuel and spare parts for vehicles and water pumps in Yida.

The South Sudan Government has declared a state of emergency in Unity and Jonglei states. With opposition forces now controlling Bor, the Jonglei capital, a large government military contingent has moved north to Pariang, close to Yida and Ajuong Thok camps.

"As a result, we are greatly worried about any effects of the fighting on the refugees and on our ability to serve them. We remind all parties to the conflict that refugee camps must remain civilian in character," Ms. Fleming said.

On other fronts, the UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, continues to protect approximately 62,000 civilians at its bases, with humanitarian actors providing relief and support. This includes nearly 30,000 at its two Juba bases, a UN spokesperson said today.

The Mission also reports that the situation in Juba continues to be tense. In addition to protecting civilians in its bases, Mission troops are conducting day and night patrols in the capital. UNMISS notes continued instability and fighting in a number of locations, including around Bor and in areas in Unity State.

In Jonglei State, the Mission reports fighting south of Bor and sporadic gunfire in the vicinity of its compound. It also says that a number of explosions have been heard this morning southeast of the city.

In Unity State, the Mission undertook a patrol to Pariyang and observed that most villages along the road from Mayom Junction to Pariyang appeared burnt or looted. Severe food, water and shelter shortages were also reported to the Mission by local officials.

The spokesperson said that UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson, continues to meet with senior Government officials as well, as with opposition leaders, to ensure full cooperation with the Mission to enable it to implement its mandate to protect civilians.

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UN Officials Meet Displaced S.Sudan Civilians

United Nations commander Moses Obi talking to displaced people in Jonglei state (file photo).

Top United Nations officials are meeting with civilians displaced by the ongoing violence between pro- and anti-government forces to adress humanitarian priorities. Read more »