Sudan refugees to hit 100,000 in weeks: UN
The number of people fleeing unrest in Sudan is likely to reach 100,000 by the end of the year, a UN expert said on Friday.
Since August about 76,000 have sought refuge in Ethiopia and South Sudan from fighting in the volatile Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas, according to Raouf Mazou of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
"If the trends we are seeing continue we are likely to see in the coming weeks and definitely before the end of the year up to 100,000 refugees having fled Sudan into South Sudan and into Ethiopia," said the deputy director for East and Horn of Africa, Chad and Sudan.
Mazou said an estimated 16,000 people had crossed from Sudan's Blue Nile state into Upper Nile in South Sudan as a result of fighting.
A further 20,000 have fled South Kordofan for Unity province in the newly independent south.
In both Blue Nile and South Kordofan Sudan's ruling National Congress Party has been battling militiamen who fought alongside the former southern rebels during their decades-long conflict with the north.
The UNHCR has been delivering aid to the refugees who have mainly settled in the border areas.
"The challenge that we are facing is that they are in an extremely remote location and it is difficult to access them," said Mazou.
"Most of the assistance has had to be provided by helicopter.
"We hope with the dry season coming up we will have easier access by road to these refugees."
© 2011 AFP