South Sudan

UN agencies, partners support Awerial IDPs

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6 May 2014 - Humanitarian partners are working together to overcome challenges in providing assistance to over 100,000 displaced people (IDPs) in Awerial County, Lakes State, aid workers said today.

“We are concerned about outbreaks of diseases, because the few latrines we have overflow during heavy rains,” said Gerbrand Alhema, who works for Save the Children, UK.

To try and resolve this problem, partners were sinking latrines and setting up tents for IDPs in three new and safer locations, Madalena Vasconcelos, deputy site manager for Acted said.

“We want to be able to provide adequate facilities to the IDPs before heavy downpours occur,” Ms. Vasconcelos said. “This will also pave the way for the host communities to farm their land.”

Simon Madut, a UNICEF Field Officer, said his organization is one of seven others that are trapping 98,000 cubic litres of drinkable water daily.

In addition, partners had so far drilled 15 boreholes to support both IDPs and host communities, he said. He added that reservoir water tanks, each with a 10,000-litre capacity, would soon be installed in the three selected sites where the IDPs will be relocated.

He further said that a multi-agency awareness program across the camps has also been launched.

“We are educating the local people about the importance of maintaining good hygiene to minimize the outbreak of diseases such as diarrhea and cholera,” he said.

The UNMISS Recovery, Reintegration and Peacebuilding (RRP) Officer in Lakes State, Edward Moini, noted that the mission will also rehabilitate 10 boreholes in five of the eight payams of the county in the coming months. In the last four months, World Food Programme (WFP) had delivered about 1,890 metric tonnages of food to over 100,000 people, said WFP Field Monitor Kuoc Maluac.

Plan International’s Education in Emergency (EIE) coordinator Alfred Taban revealed that partners had helped to enroll 15,000 children in informal schools since 15 December 2013.

“As partners … we consider education as a life-saving support,” Mr. Taban said, adding that they had set up both temporary tents as classrooms and teachers’ training facilities.

County Commissioner Deng Tong said the IDPs, who mainly come from Jonglei State, are co-existing peacefully with local communities, and that the number of cases of cattle rustling have been greatly reduced. He noted that most crimes committed are related to drunkenness and domestic squabbles, which the elders of the communities preferred to settle through the customary justice system.