Tue Jul 26, 2016 08:53PM
South Sudanese refugees gather inside a make-shift camp at Nimule border in Uganda on July 16, 2016. (AFP)
South Sudanese refugees gather inside a make-shift camp at Nimule border in Uganda on July 16, 2016. (AFP)

The United Nations says over 37,000 people fleeing the conflict in South Sudan have entered Uganda over the last three weeks.

"In the past three weeks there have been more refugee arrivals in Uganda than in the entire first six months of 2016," which was 33,838 people, said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a statement released on Tuesday.

The UNHCR added that over 90 percent of the refugees were women and children as adult males were being forced to join armed groups.

It noted that most of the refugees had fled from South Sudan's Eastern Equatoria region and the capital Juba.

The UN body also stressed that refugee camps in Uganda were being overwhelmed by the surge of people.

On Monday, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir replaced his vice president and rival Riek Machar with peace negotiator General Taban Deng Gai.

South Sudanese children shelter in the compound of the St Theresa Roman Catholic cathedral in Juba on July 15, 2016. (AFP)

The move threatens a shaky ceasefire which has been holding across the volatile country over the past couple of days following the clashes of July 8, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to Kiir and Machar, raising fears of a return to a full-blown conflict after a two-year lull.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than three million forced to flee their homes in the war that started in December 2013, when President Kiir sacked Machar only two years after the country seceded from Sudan.

The two sides eventually signed an agreement in August 2015 to bring the conflict to an end. As part of the deal, Machar returned to Juba in April to take up the post of vice president in a national unity government.