JUBA, South Sudan, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The U.N. refugee agency in South Sudan said it was preparing for as many as 30,000 refugees fleeing fighting between rival Sudanese forces.
In late October, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said staff in South Sudan registered 72 new refugees, mostly women and children. UNHCR representatives in the area said most of them had fled following clashes between rival forces in Sudan's Blue Nile state.
With the rainy season over, the agency said more refugees were expected in the coming weeks.
"(The 72 registered refugees) was the highest weekly arrival figure since the rainy season began in May and indicated that the numbers were starting to rise with the changing weather pattern," the agency said in a statement.
Staff members said they were starting to prepare for an influx of as many as 30,000 new refugees before the end of the year.
The U.S. State Department, in mid-September, advised U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to Sudanese states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Border conflict has been a problematic issue for Sudan and South Sudan, which gained independence last year as part of a 2005 peace deal.