Since December 2005, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and partners have assisted over 50,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return home in central and Southern Sudan, through organized and emergency return movement operations. Since January, 34,494 IDPs have received organized assistance to return home:
- 16,835 from Khartoum to central and Southern Sudan,
- 8,726 from South Darfur to Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State,
- 5,000 from Wau County to Warrap State,
- 1,002 from Central Equatoria to Jonglei State and Western Equatoria,
- 2,931 within Blue Nile State, in central Sudan.
The IOM is working with implementing partners in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State, to ensure that areas heavily impacted by returns are provided with additional water points: 14 boreholes are being dug in Aweil North and Aweil East counties, while the town water system in Rumaker is being reconstructed.
Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), 143,565 Sudanese refugees have returned, most of them to Southern Sudan. Of these, 61,403 were directly assisted by the United Nations and partners.
Approximately 270,000 refugees remain in neighbouring countries, and during 2007 the United Nations aims to bring back home 102,000 Sudanese refugees (including those already returned). Since 01 January, the United Nations repatriated 35,380 Sudanese refugees, out of whom 32,129 (91%) joined organized movements, while 3,251 (9%) were cases of assisted self-repatriation.
May 2007 saw the completion of the 2006-2007 dry season repatriation programme from camps in Ethiopia.
The pilot census ran from 15 to 30 April. All ten states were covered in Southern Sudan, and more than 5,000 households were visited and interviewed. The pilot census aimed to test various tools, such as questionnaires and techniques. Logistical issues were studied, as reflected by the diversity of the areas chosen, including difficult areas such as swamps, mountains, and cattle camps. The process was successful.
Common Services and Coordination
From 31 May to 02 June, the second in-mission United Nations Civil-Military Coordination Workshop in the Sudan will take place, sponsored by the Norwegian Government. Some 25 participants will discuss the current status of civil-military relations in the Sudan, look at the existing guiding documents, and apply them to classroom scenarios.
An inter-agency assessment has just been completed in Akobo County (Jonglei State), focusing on allegations of forced returns from Ethiopia to Southern Sudan. The findings indicate that such incidents have not yet occurred, but a group of 20,000 to 25,000 people may return to Southern Sudan in coming months, and contingency measures are being put in place to cater for such an eventuality.
From 01 January, the Emergency Response Fund (ERF) has provided USD 232,000 for five projects of five NGOs. Two projects are related to acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), one to meningitis, one to nutritional recovery in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State, and one to individuals allegedly affected by attacks of the Ugandan opposition armed group "Lord's Resistance Army" (LRA).
On 01 April, Education Day for Southern Sudan, the 'Go to School' initiative celebrated its first birthday along with the opening of the new academic year. Since the 2006 launch of the 'Go to School' initiative supported by the United Nations, the following has been achieved with United Nations support:
- School supplies have been distributed to 850,000 children, i.e. all children enrolled in school.
- Over 2,500 teachers have been trained.
- Enrolment has risen to 850,000 children, from just 343,000 during the Sudan's civil war.
- Over one third of students are now girls.
- Over 200 new permanent classrooms are being built, while a further 300 classrooms are being rehabilitated, and emergency classroom tents are being distributed.
The first dry season of 2007 has seen major progress in school construction, with United Nations support:
- In Lakes State, the superstructures for seven new schools have been delivered.
- Six schools are under construction in Unity State.
- In Central Equatoria State, floors have been completed at two schools, and water is being provided on-site, through a partnership with Islamic Relief.
- Five schools are being built in Warrap State.
The first Girls Education Movement (GEM) training of 2007 took place in Juba in April with United Nations support, reaching over 60 teachers and young people, and inaugurating an intensive drive to reach 400 teachers and young people by early May.
The meningitis outbreak is now more under control than it was until April, one of the reasons being that transmission is less likely during the rainy season. This year, 11,891 suspected cases have been reported, leading to 668 known deaths, with a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 5.6%. Last week, only three suspected cases with zero deaths have been reported. This compares very favourably with the averages registered since 01 January, i.e. 626 cases per week, 35 deaths per week, and a CFR of 5.5%.
This year, a total of 425,526 people have been vaccinated against meningitis in the following states: Central Equatorial, Jonglei, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, Western Bahr el-Ghazal, Western Equatoria. The vaccination campaign has so far covered 54% of the target population, which was 780,007.
During the period from 01 January to 13 May, 7,786 cases of AWD and 347 deaths were reported, the CFR being 4.5%. Last week, 138 AWD cases with 20 deaths have been reported, representing a 67% increase of cases this week, compared to two weeks before. Most of the reported cases were in Central Equatorial and Warrap states.
From 01 January, 2,425 suspected measles cases have been reported, leading to 72 known deaths, with a CFR of 3%.
The Mass Measles Campaign (MMC) was conducted for 212,002 children in April. This brings the total number of children vaccinated in Southern Sudan in 2007 to 575,854. Since its start, the MMC has vaccinated 2,108,293 children.
A preliminary report of the first round of Polio National Immunization Days in Southern Sudan, conducted at the end of March, indicates that a total of 2,845,072 children received polio vaccines. The second round was conducted during the last week of April, during which Vitamin A was also administered, but figures of children reached are not yet available.
One thousand new tuberculosis (TB) cases have been detected ("smear positive") in 2007, and placed under direct observation and treatment through short-course therapy. Detection of smear positive cases in the targeted areas has been increased from approximately 14% in the year 2004, to 47% at the end of 2006.
Fifteen new TB management centres have been established with United Nations support, and are now operational (i.e. they have infrastructure, equipment, supplies, and trained personnel).
Since 01 January, 1,598,187 square metres of land in Southern Sudan have been cleared of mines and UXO (unexploded ordnance).
Since 01 January, 595 anti-personnel mines, 521 anti-tank mines, 4,800 small arms and ammunition and 85,464 items of UXO have been destroyed or moved for destruction.
Since 01 January, 78,225 people received mine risk education.
Water and Sanitation
During April, the United Nations supported its partners in building 38 new water sources and 113 latrines in schools, health facilities and communities giving 19,000 people in seven states access to safe water across Southern Sudan. In addition, 126 water points were repaired and rehabilitated, restoring water access to 63,000 people, while 63 hand-washing facilities have been installed at various community sites.
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Maurizio Giuliano, Public Information Officer, United Nations, Juba, Sudan, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Telephone: +249-91-2179084
Melissa Phillips, Coordination and Information Officer, United Nations, Juba, Sudan, Email: email@example.com, Telephone: +249-91-2501652
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