South Sudan + 1 more

South Sudan displacement

News and Press Release
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South Sudan became the world's newest nation in 2011. Two years on from independence, many challenges remain: half the population live below the poverty line and only 55% have access to drinking water.

More recently, fighting erupted in December 2013 following clashes between the President and Vice President. This led to violence between government forces and rival political factions and mass killings along ethnic lines.

This wave of conflict has left just under 1 million people internally displaced. Over 300,000 have fled to refugee camps in neighbouring Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. An estimated 3.2 million people currently need humanitarian assistance.

Older refugees' needs

To find out what older people in this situation most urgently need, we carried out focus groups in May 2014 with older internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Juba. We also interviewed representatives of international organisations working with IDPs.

In February 2014, we also undertook two rapid needs assessments among South Sudanese refugees in western Ethiopia and northern Uganda. These included focus group discussions and individual interviews with older people, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups both within the refugee and host communities.

These assessments clearly highlighted that the needs of older men and women and people with disabilities are misunderstood and overlooked by humanitarian agencies.

Next steps
We are now planning to work through our local affiliate, the South Sudan Older People’s Organization (SSOPO) to support older people affected by the ongoing conflict in South Sudan. Our planned work includes:

In South Sudan:
- Providing 2,300 older people with essential items such as mats, blankets, as well as visual, mobility and auditory aids.
- Ensuring better access to basic services for 1,500 older people through the construction of 14 age-friendly latrines for example.
- Improving eye care for 800 older people within IDP clusters in Juba
- Improving the mental wellbeing of 2,300 older people by setting up a social centre and providing psychosocial counselling.
- Training humanitarian actors to understand the capacities and vulnerabilities of older people in emergencies.

In Ethiopia:

  • Distributing essential items such as disability aids, bedding materials, mosquito nets and wheelchairs to 1,500 older refugees.
  • Improving older people's mental wellbeing by training 20 home-based care providers to provide psychosocial counselling.
  • Promoting older people's rights and their access to essential services through advocacy work.
  • Training humanitarian actors to understand the capacities and vulnerabilities of older people in emergencies.