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September 22, 2017

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UN seeks funds as South Sudanese refugees in Uganda surpass 1 million

Geneva (dpa) - Uganda has now taken in more than 1 million people who have fled the conflict in South Sudan, but funds to aid the refugees are running low, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Thursday.

Over the past year, 1,800 South Sudanese have been crossing the border to Uganda every day on average.

Another 1 million have fled to Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.

"The funding shortfall in Uganda is now significantly impacting the abilities to deliver life-saving aid and key basic services," UNHCR said.

So far, the international community has donated only a fifth of the 674 million dollars that are needed in Uganda this year, and the funding situation for other regional host countries is only slightly better.

The UN World Food Programme had to cut food rations for refugees in June, while Ugandan health clinics are struggling from a lack of staff.

South Sudan has been engulfed by a military conflict since a split between President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar escalated in late 2013. Tens of thousands have been killed and two million have been displaced within South Sudan.

The Red Cross said physical and sexual attacks against civilians continue across South Sudan, while the numbers of wounded have been rising.

"The staggering scale of suffering is evidence of the cumulative effect of 3.5 years of a style of fighting that appears calibrated to maximize misery," said Red Cross President Peter Maurer, who was due to visit South Sudan on Thursday.

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