South Sudan

The challenges of independence

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JUBA [ACTED News] - South Sudan was declared an independent country on July 9, 2011, following more than two decades of civil war. For the new South Sudanese government, independence brought freedom and opportunities – but also a host of new challenges. One of these challenges was the arrival and reintegration of South Sudanese who had been living in the northern states. Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal, a small state State on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, absorbed 51,000 returnees during the first three months of 2011.

The arrival of returnees caused significant strain for existing infrastructures. Food, shelter, water and sanitation resources were stretched to their limits as South Sudan tried to cope with the newly-arrived population. The pressure on the existing system had the potential for serious repercussions: not only was the population at risk of malnourishment and water-borne diseases, but lack of access to resources could also ignite conflict between returnees and the population of Northern Bahr-e-Ghazal.

In this fraught context, ACTED implemented a project to provide basic water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, new water points now provide clean, fresh water to over 6,500 individuals. More than 7,000 individuals have access to latrines following ACTED’s activities. ACTED’s water and sanitation activities in Northern Bahr-e-Ghazal provided basic yet essential services to the returnees who have arrived in South Sudan.