More than 18,000 South Sudanese refugees have entered Kenya over the past nine weeks
Friday, February 21, 2014
By James Shimanyula
NAIROBI - Thousands of refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan have crossed into Kenya in recent weeks, the UN refugee agency said Friday.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 18,000 South Sudanese refugees have entered neighboring Kenya over the past nine weeks.
"Refugees are entering Kenya in small groups, not in droves," UNHCR regional spokesperson Kitty McKinsey told Anadolu Agency in exclusive statements.
According to McKinsey, the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya is now home to nearly 150,000 refugees who fled violence in neighboring countries, with most coming from South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia.
"The camp is approaching its limit for accommodating refugees," she said. "The UNHCR is talking to the Kenya government to allocate it more land to open new camps."
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused sacked vice president Riek Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt.
The violence has already claimed more than 10,000 lives.
The UN estimates that some 3.7 million South Sudanese are now "severely food insecure," while more than 867,000 have been displaced by the fighting.
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