Top of the Morning: UN Refugee Agency Issues Warning on South Sudan; Appalling Violence Against Women and Children in Afghanistan

Top stories from DAWNS Digest. 
UN Refugee Agency Warns that Operations in South Sudan are Severely Overstretched

The UNHCR’s Antonio Guterres is worried for the capacity of his agency to deal with a growing refugee crisis along the Sudan-South Sudan border. “The combination of difficult and dangerous conditions in South Sudan and the huge numbers of refugees arriving there mean our operations are severely stretched,” Guterres said. “And people are still arriving every day, many of them malnourished, and including unaccompanied children in groups.” UNHCR field offices in Ethiopia and South Sudan say 211,700 refugees have so far arrived from Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. 36,700 of these are in the Assosa region of Ethiopia. But the major pressure of this influx is on South Sudan, with 62,000 people in Unity State and 113,000 in Upper Nile State – most in remote areas lacking even basic infrastructure. Children and teenagers of up to 18 years account for 52 percent of the refugees in Assosa, 44 percent in Upper Nile State, and 65 percent in Unity State. In South Sudan, water supply for this population has become acutely problematic, even with a new rainy season having recently begun. Much of the Jammam camp in Upper Nile State, for example, is in ankle deep water, yet the amount of water available for drinking and sanitation is still far below that needed. Boreholes have been dug there and in other camps, but many refugees still receive only a third or less of the minimum daily clean water supply. This heightens the health risks.” (UNHCR

A Woman and Her Children Beheaded in Afghanistan

This is an awful, awful story that will nonetheless likely capture media attention here in the west. “A 30-year-old woman and two of her children were beheaded overnight in Afghanistan’s east, police said, in what appeared to be the latest in a rapidly growing trend of so-called honour killings. Police said they suspected the woman Serata’s divorced husband of barging into her house in the capital of Ghazni province and murdering her, alongside their eight-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. ‘The children saw the killer take their mother’s head off, so he killed them too,’ a local policeman told Reuters, adding that the attacker had spared Sereta’s two-year-old daughter. Activists say there has been a sharp rise in violent attacks on women in Afghanistan over the past year.’” (AlertNet