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South Sudan: Featherstone warns of growing refugee crisis

International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone warned of the growing refugee crisis in South Sudan as a result of renewed fighting in Sudan during her visit to the region

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The growing refugee crisis in South Sudan is likely to worsen as a result of renewed fighting in Sudan, International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone warned today.  

The ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have already resulted in 170,000 people having to leave their homes.

Visiting the United Nation’s Jusuf Batil refugee camp in the Upper Nile State of South Sudan, the Minister saw first hand how thousands of families are now being provided with shelter, food, clean water and urgent medical care.

Lynne Featherstone said:

It is impossible not to be shocked by what I have seen today and I am very concerned how more fighting in the days and months to come will increase the refugee crisis.

I have seen the care and commitment from the agencies on the ground to helping those who have lost everything. But the suffering I have seen only reinforces the urgent need for all parties to commit to finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict through face-to-face negotiation.

Only through committing to a peaceful solution will people be able to return home and live in peace and dignity.

During the Minister’s visit to South Sudan, she will also discuss with senior UN, donor and government figures the ways in which co-ordination could be further improved and how funding can be assured for aid agencies responding to this growing crisis. This will include making sure the response to the humanitarian situation is organised so that aid is provided in a sustainable and well-planned way.

The UK is providing support in South Sudan through the Common Humanitarian Fund and the World Food Programme Emergency Operation. British support is helping 200,000 people in South Sudan with food, urgent healthcare and safe drinking water.  

Working for a peaceful resolution 

As well as providing assistance to the refugee camps in South Sudan, the UK is supporting efforts to bring the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North together to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict and to agree a cessation of hostilities. This would then allow for full humanitarian access to the people remaining in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Read the full press release

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Published 23 October 2012