Geneva, Dec 28 — The escalating violence in South Sudan has left hundreds of thousands of people in the country displaced, and the total number was expected to climb even higher, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Friday.
Statistics from the UN body showed that at least 121,600 people have been displaced by the acute crisis in the African country since mid-December, and the actual total number was likely to be higher since aid agencies have very limited information about displacement outside the main population centres, Xinhua reported.
According to the OCHA, around 63,000 of the displaced people have sought protection in the bases of the UN peacekeeping mission UNMISS, mainly in Juba, Bor, Malakal, Bentiu and Pariang, among which an estimated 25,000 people are displaced in Juba, capital of South Sudan, alone.
The UN office said that humanitarian responders and aid agencies were providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the affected people, adding that priority needs of the people falling victims to the crisis were food, healthcare, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene services.
OCHA appealed for $166 million for aid agencies to scale up operations and provide immediate life-saving aid for the next three months.
Violent clashes erupted in South Sudan Dec 15 between two military factions, one descending from the Dinka tribe to which South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit belongs, and the other descending from the Nuer tribe to which former South Sudanese vice president Riek Machar belongs. Riek Machar is accused of plotting to topple the government.
The UN Security Council Tuesday adopted a resolution to almost double the UN peacekeeping forces in conflict-torn South Sudan to better protect civilians from violence.