Increasing number of South Sudanese asylum seekers continues to arrive in Gambella Region of Ethiopia. As of 22 May, UNHCR reports that 131,051 South Sudanese have sought asylum in Ethiopia through Pagak, Akobo, Burubei, Matar, Raad and Pugnido entry points.
Since first week of May, more than 23,000 new asylum seekers have arrived in Burubei following clashes in Nasir, a border town in South Sudan. The daily arrival rate reported by UNHCR is 1,000 per day, most women and children.
UNICEF has supported the deployment of three additional vaccination teams to Burubei to provide vaccination for the large number of new arrivals. UNICEF has also set up an additional emergency water treatment unit that can provide up to 30,000 litres of water per day.
Under a pre-existing letter of understanding between UNICEF and UNHCR, UNICEF has continued to second four programme specialists with UNHCR to support sector coordination in WASH, Nutrition, Health and Child Protection.
UNICEF Ethiopia Country Office (CO) is processing a request from UNICEF South Sudan CO for cross-border shipment of programme supplies.
UNICEF Ethiopia CO is discussing with ECHO a proposal for funding emergency child protection response in Gambella.
Situation in Numbers
131,051 South Sudanese refugees arrived in Ethiopia since 15 December - 95% are women and children (UNHCR, 22 May 2014)
74,402 children are vaccinated against measles
53,481 children under 15 years have received oral polio vaccine
US$36.08 million – 2014 UNICEF Humanitarian Funding needs, US$4.8 million received
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Increasing number of South Sudanese continues to arrive in Gambella Region, western part of Ethiopia. As of 22 May, 131,051 asylum seekers have arrived through Pagak, Akobo, Burubei, Matar, Raad and Pugnido entry points. From these 118,935 new arrivals, 88 per cent have been relocated to refugee camps. In Akobo over 9,000 and in Burubei over 17,000, and in Pagak, approximately 2,000 remain to be relocated. The refugees are staying in Leitchour (46,793), Kule (48,292), Okugu (1,543) and in Pugnido (1,495) refugee camps that are run by UNHCR and ARRA.
According to UNHCR, the recent Measuring of the Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) screening in Pagak, (717 children under five years old) reflects a Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) of 8 per cent, a Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) of 6 per cent and a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) of 14 per cent, just under the emergency threshold of 15 per cent. Similar screening was undertaken in Burubei which reflected a MAM of 6.5 per cent and a GAM of 29.2 per cent, which indicates that new arrivals continue to enter Ethiopia in poor nutritional state.
With over 17,000 refugees waiting for relocation in Burubei entry, and with daily arrival rate of approximately 1,000 per day, the urgent humanitarian needs include shelter, food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health and nutrition services and protection for the vulnerable groups, especially unaccompanied or separated children. Partners led by UNHCR are responding with array of interventions. UNICEF support, in addition to the seconded staff, is mainly in vaccination of the children, emergency health supplies, and provision of safe drinking water.