Minors, disabled caught up in renewed conflict
From ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – SCORES of children have been separated from their parents owing to the renewed conflict that has sent thousands fleeing South Sudan to neighbouring Ethiopia.
More than 32 000 South Sudanese have sought refuge in the Gambella region of Ethiopia since the beginning of September, and an average of 1 000 more join them every day.
The new arrivals join 286 000 South Sudanese refugees who for the most part have been living in refugee camps in Gambella since civil war broke out in South Sudan in December 2013.
Over 65 percent of the arrivals are under the age of 18 and one out of 12 new refugees are children who have been separated from their parents or arrive unaccompanied at the reception centre in Pagak, on the border between South Sudan and Ethiopia.
“The current influx adds to an already large population of refugees and we are receiving a high number of unaccompanied minors – which increases the urgency for a rapid response,” says James Curtis, Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Country Director in Ethiopia.
He noted persons with disabilities or special needs were also caught up in the crisis.
DRC provides assistance to persons with disabilities and special needs upon arrival to Tierkidi camp, one of the largest camps in the region.
“The situation across the border is extremely serious with a combination of recent fighting and hunger,” said Curtis.
– CAJ News
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