Sudan UNHCR Operational Update for South Sudan, 16 - 29 April 2016
The influx of South Sudanese into Sudan that began in late January 2016 amid ongoing conflict and deteriorating food insecurity continues with some 54,000 arrivals into East and South Darfur and West Kordofan states. Of these new arrivals, 41,774 are residing in East Darfur.
In White Nile State, there was a large increase in the rate of arrivals recorded during the reporting period. Whereas the average number of arrivals per week has been around 500 for the past two months, in the past week over 2,100 new South Sudanese have arrived in the White Nile State sites.
The first food distribution based on biometric registration commenced on 21 April in El Redis I and Dabat Bosin sites, and in all other White Nile sites the following day. The distribution is proceeding smoothly, and has already completed in Dabat Bosin. An information campaign was conducted in all sites prior to the shift to sensitize communities on the new system.
The second phase of biometric registration was completed in Um Sangor site on 24 April, with a total of 4,195 individuals registered who had arrived since completion of the first phase of the registration exercise.
Over 1,000 South Sudanese have been arrested in Khartoum since early April for alleged lack of documentation despite most being in possession of registration cards issued by the Sudanese Directorate of Passports and Immigration (IPP). Some 300 South Sudanese have been released following legal intervention and advocacy efforts with the authorities, but others remain in detention.
In Khartoum state, an accidental fire broke out in the Soba Kongor open area, destroying over 100 shelters and resulting in the death of two girls. UNHCR has provided non-food item assistance to all affected households.
UPDATE ON ACHIEVEMENTS
The number of South Sudanese that have fled into East and South Darfur and West Kordofan since late January has nearly reached 54,000. I n White Nile State, there was a marked increase in the number of arrivals, with nearly 2,169 arrivals recorded in the past week, compared with an average of 500 arrivals per week observed in the two months prior. These recent arrivals are arriving directly from South Sudan with a small number also coming from Khartoum State.
In East Darfur, the total number of refugees stands at 41,774 as of 25 April. In Khor Omer IDP camp, IOM conducted a second round of verification of South Sudanese on April 25, bringing the total number of verified individuals in the camp to 25,548. Food distribution by WFP has reached 22,600 of the new arrivals as of 17 April, with further distribution planned to take place shortly. UNHCR is distributing non-food items to all new arrivals in Khor Omer, with additional stocks prepositioned to cover a total of 30,000 individuals. Access to water and sanitation is severely constrained in Khor Omer, with only 29 per cent of water requirements currently being met and a 98 per cent gap in latrine coverage. Medical supplies sufficient for four months have been delivered to the camp’s health clinic, but a vehicle is urgently needed to transfer emergency cases to the Ed Daein hospital. Insufficient stocks of reproductive health equipment and kits are also reported. A middle-upper arm circumference screening (MUAC) conducted by UNICEF and the State Ministry of Health (SMOH) identified a global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate of 8.1 per cent, falling below the SPHERE emergency threshold of 15 per cent. However, data collected at the onset of the influx indicated much higher levels of malnutrition among the children upon arrival and before provision of nutritional supplements. Land availability poses a main challenge for delivery of further assistance, such as distribution of shelters and latrine construction. Discussions regarding establishment of a new site in East Darfur to host the new arrivals are ongoing, and local authorities are working to negotiate the use of a site located near to Khor Omer. Access to other localities in East Darfur where new arrivals have been reported remains limited. Insecurity and localized violence across the state also continue to impact the extent of response activities by partners. Planning figures anticipate 97,000 South Sudanese arrivals in total by the end of June 2016.
In South Darfur, the number of South Sudanese arrivals is 4,594, an increase of 469 arrivals since mid-April. Food and emergency household items have been provided to most new arrivals, but distribution of shelters has still not yet been authorized by authorities. Planning figures for South Darfur anticipate a total of 7,000 arrivals to the state by the end of June 2016.
In West Kordofan, WFP completed a verification exercise in Kharasana, identifying 9,776 South Sudanese residing in the area. Of those verified, 710 individuals have arrived in Kharasana since the end of March coming both from other parts of Sudan (i.e. White Nile and Khartoum states) and from South Sudan’s Unity State. WFP has since started distribution of one-month food rations to all South Sudanese residing in Kharasana. Food distribution in El Meriam is still on hold after several weeks due to lack of clearance by security authorities. As a result, the situation of refugees residing in the area is growing increasingly critical, with very high food insecurity and malnutrition already reported in the area during an assessment in mid-March. A measles outbreak affecting West Kordofan has reportedly led to several deaths among South Sudanese, with 12 deaths reported in El Tibbun town in Babanusa locality. The West Kordofan SMOH is responding to the situation with support from WHO for essential medicines and vaccinations. In White Nile state, UNHCR has continued to lead preparations for relocation of families to the new Al Waral site to help ease congestion in the existing seven sites. Relocation of families is expected to start in the first week of May, once construction of latrines, communal shelters and installation of water bladders has completed. Over the reporting period, the first food distribution to be based on a biometric registration system commenced in all seven sites led by joint UNHCR/WFP teams, targeting 73,475 refugees in total. The second phase of biometric registration also finalized in Um Sangor site, with 4,195 individuals registered who had arrived since completion of the first phase of the exercise.
In Khartoum, arbitrary arrests of South Sudanese have continued since first being reported in early April. Over 1,000 South Sudanese have reportedly been arrested in Khartoum for alleged lack of documentation and charged a fine of 1000 SDG, despite the fact that the majority are in possession of the IPP registration card containing the foreign number issued by authorities. UNHCR has been closely monitoring the situation, providing protection and legal support to the detainees, and pursuing the issue with the relevant government counterparts in order to uphold the validity of the IPP cards. More than 300 of those arrested have since been released but many remain in detention. Advocacy efforts by UNHCR are ongoing, as well as on the part of the South Sudanese Embassy. Recent reports in the media have indicated that the Cabinet decision from 17 March that South Sudanese in Sudan are to be treated as foreigners has been revoked, but no official confirmation of this has been communicated.
On 18 April a fire broke out in Khartoum’s Soba Kongor open area destroying more than 100 shelters and resulting in the death of two young girls. The fire was due to accidental causes. UNHCR visited the site in the following day to assess damages and provided emergency material assistance including clothing and non-food items.