GENEVA, 2nd August, 2016 (WAM) — Some 60,000 people have fled South Sudan’s recent violence in the capital city of Juba, bringing the overall number of South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries since December 2013 to nearly 900,000, the United Nations refugee agency said today.

Refugee flows from South Sudan into Uganda have doubled in the past ten days, bringing the total to more than 52,000 since violence escalated three weeks ago. Kenya has reported the arrival of 1,000 refugees in the same period, while 7,000 have fled to Sudan, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“The refugees bring disturbing reports that armed groups operating on roads to Uganda are preventing people from fleeing South Sudan,” Melissa Fleming, UNHCR chief spokesperson, told reporters in Geneva.

More than 85 per cent of the refugees arriving in Uganda are women and children under the age of 18, she added. Many children have lost one, or both of their parents. Most are from Eastern Equatoria, with smaller numbers from Juba and Upper Nile state. Many took advantage of the opportunity to flee alongside Ugandan military convoys evacuating Ugandan nationals.

WAM/Hazem/tfaham