Refugee Crisis in South Sudan

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 6, 2012

The United States is concerned about the dire situation faced by the growing Sudanese refugee population in South Sudan.  We remain deeply committed to meeting the humanitarian needs of the people of South Sudan, and urge the international community to join us in our efforts to relieve suffering and assist those affected by the on-going violence.

The United States and its partners are already responding to this crisis, but the needs are great and in danger of outstripping the humanitarian community’s ability to respond.  There are now more than 150,000 Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, primarily fleeing from Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states.  Access to sufficient water for the expanding refugee population in Upper Nile remains a significant issue.  Humanitarian agencies are also struggling to improve and maintain access roads that will allow sufficient assistance to reach the growing refugee settlements and surrounding host communities.

The United States government has already stepped up to help prevent further suffering by providing more than $34 million to support the emergency response to new Sudanese refugees in the region.  We are concerned, though, that humanitarian agencies are still facing a shortage of the resources required to protect and assist the growing refugee population.  An even greater emergency could be on the horizon as the rainy season threatens to severely curtail access to refugee-hosting areas.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has appealed to the international community for $145 million to help prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.  The United States has already met 23% of this request, but 70% remains unfunded.  We call on all international partners to help us meet UNHCR’s urgent request to help the refugees in South Sudan. We also urge all donors, as well as private companies that may have critically-needed equipment in the refugee-hosting areas of South Sudan, to provide additional support to the humanitarian response.

PRN: 2012/901