By Andrew Wasike and Magdalene Mukami.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi on Thursday in Kenya launched a $3.2 billion multi-agency humanitarian appeal to help assist the South Sudanese people affected by conflict.
Grandi visited the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya’s northwestern region, which hosts about 148,000 South Sudanese refugees who told their stories.
Martha Bok, a South Sudanese refugee with six children, told Grandi that she ran away from South Sudan after her husband was killed.
“We didn’t have food to eat, there was war everywhere, that’s what brought me here,” Bok said. “I wouldn’t go back right now home until the war is over, the UN is the only family that I have now.”
Grandi told reporters the call for funding is meant to "remind the world that this conflict which drags on and on and doesn’t seem to end has a human cost. We hope that the leaders of South Sudan will make peace and allow for the country to be rebuilt so that these people can go back whenever they chose to do so.
“We will appeal for a lot of money [...] for right now 2.4 million refugees in neighboring countries including Kenya, a number that we project will rise above 3 million by the end of the year if the conflict does not stop.”
Grandi likened the South Sudanese situation to serious crises like those in Syria and Yemen,
Uganda is the largest host of South Sudanese refugees with over 1 million recorded.
South Sudan gained independence in 2011 but fell into a civil war in 2013, with tens of thousands killed and nearly 4 million displaced since.
A peace deal was forged between President Salva Kiir and his former Vive President Riek Machar in August 2016, but the fighting that erupted once again in the capital Juba in July 2016.