New Report Shows Concerns about Safety, Access to Services Persist as more Displaced People Prepare to Leave Wau PoCAA
Wau – Some 40 per cent of households interviewed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) intend to leave the Wau protection of civilian adjacent area (PoCAA) where they are currently living; half of whom plan to do so by March of this year highlights a new report released by IOM.
This report follows a trend observed throughout 2018 where monthly headcounts of residents illustrated a steady decline in the site’s population. There are 35,496 people biometrically registered in the site, though headcounts in December 2018 suggest that the number of those residing there is only 15,272.
In December 2018, after the signing of the revitalized peace agreement, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) team surveyed 645 households in Wau PoCAA to better understand their intentions within this new context. Approximately 77 per cent of the people surveyed were women and respondents indicated that 71 per cent of households in Wau PoCAA are female-headed. The survey aimed to establish how many intend to leave Wau PoC AA site, the tentative time frame of return and return destinations. The majority (97%) of the people surveyed have a preferred area of return within South Sudan.
When asked, which improvements in the preferred area of return would influence their decision, participants mentioned general improvements in the security situation most frequently, followed by assurances from the Government on safety.
“People may decide to go to their former residence if they see the peace is going well outside,” noted a focus group participant, who had been displaced from Raja/Deim Zubir to Wau PoCAA. The poor conditions in Deim Zubir were mentioned, including lack of water, education and medication, as making it difficult for people to return without humanitarian support. For focus group participants from Baggari, persisting insecurity and insufficient access to clean water were cited. Another common concern relates to remnants of war including mines and unexploded ordnance.
More residents of Wau PoCAA show an intention to return currently as compared to a year ago. In December 2017, only 16 per cent of Wau PoCAA residents indicated intending to leave the PoC and among them, less than a third in the three months following the survey. Some now see opportunities to re-establish their lives in their former habitual residences or a new area of their choice, with factors such as access to education and key services influencing decisions on where and when to move. In Wau town, IOM is currently working on a settlement project to provide secure and conducive environment for 5,000 internally displaced people returning to their homes.
With the information collected during this survey, IOM aims to enable partners operating in PoCAA and beyond to make timely adjustments to programming and operations, maintaining services for those who continue to be in need of protection at the PoC sites, while also engaging increasingly in areas of return.
IOM South Sudan’s DTM activities are supported by European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the Japanese Government, the UK’s Department for International Development, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
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