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UN humanitarian office: Aid agencies need to $166 million to save lives in South Sudan

  • In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 and released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, the U.N.'s top humanitarian official in the country Toby Lanzer, center, makes a visit to assess the humanitarian situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, in oil-rich Unity state, in South Sudan. In New York, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to beef up its peacekeeping force in South Sudan and condemned targeted violence against civilians and ethnic communities and called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities and the immediate opening of a dialogue." (AP Photo/UNMISS, Anna Adhikari)The Associated Press

  • In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 and released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, the U.N.'s top humanitarian official in the country Toby Lanzer, center-right, greets people as he makes a visit to assess the humanitarian situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, in oil-rich Unity state, in South Sudan. In New York, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to beef up its peacekeeping force in South Sudan and condemned targeted violence against civilians and ethnic communities and called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities and the immediate opening of a dialogue." (AP Photo/UNMISS, Anna Adhikari)The Associated Press

  • In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 and released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, the U.N.'s top humanitarian official in the country Toby Lanzer, center-left, makes a visit to assess the humanitarian situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, in oil-rich Unity state, in South Sudan. In New York, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to beef up its peacekeeping force in South Sudan and condemned targeted violence against civilians and ethnic communities and called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities and the immediate opening of a dialogue." (AP Photo/UNMISS, Anna Adhikari)The Associated Press

The United Nations humanitarian office says aid agencies need $166 million to save lives amid continuing violence in South Sudan.

Some 45,000 people have taken refuge in and around U.N. bases in the country and 81,000 people have fled their homes as a result of fighting that has raised fears of a civil war in the world's newest country.

The United States, Norway and Ethiopia are leading efforts to open peace talks between President Salva Kiir and the political rivals he accuses of mounting a coup.

Violence began spreading across South Sudan after a fight among the presidential guards on Dec. 15, pitting soldiers from Kiir's Dinka ethnic group against those from the Nuer ethnic group of former Vice President Riek Machar.

The U.N. is investigating reports of mass killings.