WFP: Up to 500,000 new refugees could flee to S. Sudan

By REUTERS
January 30, 2012 17:46

JUBA - Conflict and food shortages could push up to half a million Sudanese refugees to flee to South Sudan in the next couple months if Khartoum does not allow aid agencies more access to its restive border regions, the World Food Program said.

South Sudan seceded in July under a 2005 peace deal that ended a decades-long civil war with the north, but fighting has continued on both sides of the poorly drawn border.

The United States has pressed Khartoum to allow more aid in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, citing expert reports that said more than a quarter of a million people could be on the brink of famine there by March.

Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations this month dismissed concerns of a looming crisis in the two states, saying the situation there was "normal."

World Food Program deputy executive director Ramiro Lopes Da Silva said more than 1,000 people per day have crossed into South Sudan over the last week, as many people as were crossing into Kenya from Somalia at the peak of the famine in the Horn of Africa last year.


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