UN agencies increase aid for victims of xenophobic violence in South Africa

UN agencies increase aid for victims of xenophobic violence in South Africa

United Nations relief agencies are distributing aid and working to protect the most vulnerable migrants in South Africa, which has experienced days of violent and xenophobic attacks against foreigners.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has now distributed 4,000 blankets and 2,000 sleeping mats through its local partners.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has sent nearly 1,000 hygiene kits to the South African Red Cross for distribution, and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has delivered emergency food, clothing and blankets to victims of the violence, most of whom fled their homes with few or no possessions.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is coordinating the UN humanitarian response in support of the Government.

UNICEF estimates that at least 17,000 people have been displaced in Gauteng Province alone, among them a minimum of 6,000 children and women, after attacks broke out against foreigners, including migrant workers. Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal Provinces are also reporting large numbers of displaced people.

UNICEF says the need for shelter has become more acute with temperatures plummeting to 5 degrees Celsius in Johannesburg and 10 degrees in the capital city of Tshwane, as South Africa heads into its winter season.