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FILE - Children carry belongings as they go to a refugee camp in South Sudan, May 2, 2012. The United Nations refugee agency reports that renewed violence has trapped more than 100,000 residents and refugees in Yei, which now is surrounded by government forces. VOA

The United Nations refugee agency reports that 100,000 people are effectively trapped by violence in the South Sudanese town of Yei. With no one allowed in or out, it warns, the town could soon face a food shortage.

Until recently, Yei — located in Central Equatoria state — has been largely spared from the violence and attacks that have gripped South Sudan since December 2013.

But, the UNHCR says, conditions for the inhabitants of Yei and surrounding areas have deteriorated since renewed conflict between government and rebel forces broke out in July.

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UNHCR spokesman William Spindler says the situation came to a head earlier this month when more than 30,000 people in surrounding areas flocked to Yei, following deadly attacks and looting of property.

FILE – South Sudanese policemen and soldiers stand guard along a street following renewed fighting in South Sudan’s capital Juba, July 10, 2016. VOA

He tells VOA that government forces are surrounding the town.

“They are restricting access into the town and also preventing people from leaving — presumably because they suspect them of siding with opposition forces,” Spindler said. “Now people are not allowed to leave to go and tend to the fields and the crops. And this potentially could be disastrous.”

If farmers are unable to reach their fields, Spindler says, harvests will rot, the upcoming planting season is likely to be missed and there will be no crops next year.

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He says the displaced already are feeling the sting of having had to abandon their homes, with food prices soaring as commodities disappear from the market.

“Many internally displaced people have reported that their food stocks have been looted,” Spindler said. “Two local hospitals are functioning at reduced capacity. Lack of high-energy food for malnourished children and breastfeeding mothers is becoming critical.”

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Aid agencies in Juba are responding by gathering food, non-food items, drugs and other essential supplies, he says. However, the operation is stalled as agencies wait to be granted access to Yei.

The situation adds to the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, where some 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes since the conflict began. (VOA)



The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.

NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.

The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.

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The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).

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Pakistan has failed miserably to protect Hindus, their interests.

A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.

According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.

Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.

Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.

The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".

But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.

A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.

Also Read: Hindu Woman Axed To Death In Pakistan

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