UN asks Kenya to prepare for more South Sudanese refugees


The UN refugee agency said Thursday that Kenya should prepare to receive more refugees from South Sudan.

Catherine Hamon Sharpe, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Kenya Assistant Representative in Charge of Protection, told Xinhua in Nairobi that Kenya currently receives approximately 300 South Sudanese refugees weekly.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in South Sudan and it does not look good. So Kenya needs to prepare to receive more refugees,” Sharpe said on the sidelines of the Panel Discussion on Refugee issues.

Sharpe said that Kenya plays a big role in the East African region as it provides asylum space for refugees fleeing conflict.

According to the UNHCR, Kenya already hosts nearly 180,000 South Sudanese refugees. Sharpe said that most of the refugees are sheltered in the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya while some are in urban centers.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but civil war broke out in December 2013 between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and former First Vice-President Riek Machar.

In August 2015, the warring parties signed a peace deal but civil conflict is still prevalent in the country.

Statistics from the UN indicate that approximately 900,000 South Sudanese refugees have fled to neighboring countries including Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. – Xinhua