Last updateLun, 26 Jan 2015 10am

Society: South Sudanese flee to neighbouring countries

New York, US - The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says more and more civilians from South Sudan are fleeing to neighbouring countries, with some 2,500 people a day now seeking refuge in Uganda.

The exodus follows continued fighting in parts of South Sudan between government forces and rebels despite ceasefire talks.

'As of Monday, 23,546 South Sudanese refugees had arrived in Uganda since the conflict erupted a month ago in the country, and they are now crossing at a rate of up to 2,500 people a day,' UNHCR spokesperson, Ms. Melissa Fleming, said on Tuesday.

She was quoted in a statement received by PANA in New York as saying these new arrivals were at a time when UNHCR's Uganda office was trying to cope with a continuing influx of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

'We still have 8,000 new Congolese arrivals at three reception centres in western Uganda, so our staff and our supplies are stretched,' Ms. Fleming said.

She also noted that smaller but growing numbers of South Sudanese refugees were fleeing to other neighbouring countries, with more than 5,300 refugees registered in Ethiopia.

Also, in north-west Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp, where as many as 300 South Sudanese are now arriving daily, UNHCR staff registered 3,173 new arrivals by Sunday evening.

The spokesperson said several hundred South Sudanese had crossed the border, and perhaps several thousand. But with many groups, including nomads and rebels, active in the area, it was difficult to know exactly how many were refugees, Ms Fleming added.

Pana 08/01/2014