Two Years After Crisis Erupts, Over 31,500 People Remain Displaced in Wau, South Sudan
Juba – Since conflict broke out in Wau, South Sudan, in June 2016, more than 31,500 people remain displaced from their homes. Together with partners, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) continues to provide support to displaced, host and returnee communities across Wau while extending humanitarian assistance to families affected by recent insecurity in mid-June 2018.
While parts of Wau are gradually seeing communities return, many displaced families remain hesitant to go home permanently, both fearful of insecurity and with little-to-nothing to return to, as many houses have been looted or destroyed during the fighting.
Clashes in June between armed groups in areas south of Wau, including Baggari County and Jur River, prompted additional displacement to Wau, including nearly 2,000 people to collective centres in Hai Masna and Agok.
Areas of Baggari heavily affected by the fighting are currently inaccessible by humanitarians. Humanitarian partners anticipate that many people likely scattered further into remote areas in search of protection. Camp management volunteers in Agok reported that families from Baggari have arrived at the site as recently as 3 July, likely crossing dangerous frontlines between the warring parties to reach Agok.
The fighting in Baggari led to the looting of an IOM mobile primary health care clinic in Farajjalah. Without the clinic, thousands are now unable to access lifesaving primary health care services, which only became available in late December after more than a year of extremely limited humanitarian access in the area.
IOM, as camp management lead in Wau, is supporting coordination of the response to the influx to Hai Masna and Agok. It also distributed soap to 1,170 people and menstrual hygiene kits to 300 women in Agok on 2 July and shelter items, such as blankets and sleeping matts, to 730 people in Hai Masna on 29 June. IOM began building communal shelters on 3 July in Hai Masna for the new arrivals, who have been sleeping under trees since arriving.
While responding to the current influx, IOM is also supporting rehabilitation of returnee communities in Jebel Kher in Wau town. Its mobile clinic there is operating from an abandoned and damaged facility, which was once a functioning clinic before the 2016 crisis. IOM is preparing to build a new clinic on neighbouring land, as well as drill a new borehole, and continues to conduct hygiene promotion in nearby communities.
Since opening in March 2018, midwives at the Jebel Kher clinic are seeing an increase in pregnant women visiting for pre-natal care. However, they say that returns in the neighbourhood are slow. Amura, a midwife who returned from the PoC site this March, says “Before the June insecurity, some people were starting to come back, but now many have returned to the PoC site. People are afraid to leave again because of fears of insecurity and looting.”
For more information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.