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20,000 'cut off' in South Sudan

More than 20,000 people are almost cut off from aid in South Sudan's Northern Bahr el Ghazal state after fleeing violence in the disputed border region with Sudan, a humanitarian charity has warned.

Food and drinking water is in short supply and the people in the camps are living in substandard conditions, said international medical organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

MSF teams have launched an emergency response to help the 20,000 people, who arrived over the past 12 months and who are receiving minimal humanitarian assistance due to the remoteness of the region and due to confusion over whether they should be considered as internally displaced people (IDPs), refugees or returnees.

Recent months have seen the arrival of waves of displaced people fleeing violence mainly along the Kiir/Bahr al Arab river in the disputed border region.

Shaun Lummis, MSF field coordinator in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, said: "Humanitarian agencies have struggled to understand what assistance to provide because it is difficult to determine the status of these people. But for MSF it makes no difference whether they are returnees, IDPs or refugees."

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