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Fighting near Sudan-South Sudan border displaces 35,000

© UNHCR/V.Tan. Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile state.

Recent fighting near the border between Sudan and South Sudan has displaced approximately 35,000 people in areas around Heglig, Talodi and other parts of Sudan's South Kordofan province.

The aerial bombings continue to force people across the border to South Sudan, and many of the refugees have arrived seriously malnourished.

In Yida settlement, the number of refugees arriving on a daily basis has been at triple the rate seen in March and February. Some refugees say they left Sudan because of food shortages in South Kordofan, others say they fled intense fighting in their areas of origin.

The escalating hostilities are heightening concerns about the safety of refugees in Unity state. Yida is only a few kilometres from the border and has seen direct and indirect bombing and shelling over the past six months. Humanitarian agencies continue to provide more than 20,000 refugees living in Yida with life-saving assistance and essential services such as food, water, sanitation, community services and health care. However refugees are still being advised to move urgently to safer areas.

So far, UNHCR has supported the relocation of more than 2,000 refugees to two sites further south in Unity state. Our staff are preparing the sites to receive more refugees from Southern Kordofan and from Yida, should residents there opt to relocate. 

Months of intermittent fighting have driven more than 115,000 Sudanese refugees into South Sudan and nearly 30,000 into Ethiopia. Many more could follow if the conflict continues. UNHCR is appealing to the governments of Sudan and South Sudan, and to other parties to these conflicts, to do their utmost to avoid displaced civilians being placed in harms way and to avoid actions that could displace more people.