Sudan + 2 more

UNHCR Sudan Operations: Sudan/Chad situation update 48, 16 Feb 2006

Attachments

SOUTH SUDAN
Security

The security situation was generally calm in South Sudan except for Yambio in Western Equatoria. On 10 February, at about 19:00, some 20 armed people attacked the UN compound in Yambio. The UNICEF guards at the gate tried to stop them but they started firing. UNHCR and UNICEF staff, UN CivPol and UN Military Observers were in the compound. On hearing the gun fire and after receiving information that armed men suspected to be Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) were attempting to enter the compound, staff escaped through the rear emergency gate and took cover outside. The authorities later deployed soldiers and the attackers fled. No one was injured. Following an assessment by the authorities and UN security, it is believed that the attackers were LRA who have escaped to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The security level has been raised from phase III level 2 (permissive) to phase III level 3 (restricted movements) and UN agencies have been asked to meet Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS) in LRA-affected areas of Equatoria.

Visit to Juba by the President

The President of Sudan, Omer el Bashir, paid a one-day official visit to Juba on 14 February, the first since the death of the former SPLM/A leader Dr. John Garang last year. In a public address at Peace Square, the President promised to provide basic services including water, electricity, health facilities and road construction to Juba town. He said the delay in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was due to the death of Dr. Garang, but that the National Congress Party and the SPLM/A would work together to speed up its implementation. The President's visit came at a time when expectations in the south are high for the integration of the two armies (SPLA and the Sudan Armed Forces), release of funds from the central Government for basic services and for payment of salaries and a share of the oil revenue.

Repatriation from the Central African Republic

The repatriation operation from Mboki in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues in collaboration with IOM. On 7 February, two flights repatriated 100 refugees to Tambura. The Governor and SRRC Commissioner of Western Equatoria along with other officials and UNHCR staff welcomed the returnees. The returnees were accommodated at the way station and returned to their places of destination on 8 February with 15-day food rations and non-food items. On 9 and 14 February, four more flights brought refugees home, bringing the total of repatriated refugees to 353 (170 male, 183 female) since the start of the operation on 2 February.

Upper Nile: registration of refugee and IDP returnees

In Malakal, UNHCR continued to register returnees at the dock, while the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SRRC) and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continued to conduct registration at the bus station and other points of entry to the town. UNHCR also continued to interview returnees from Fugnido and Dimma refugee camps in Ethiopia and forward their data to UNHCR Gambella (Ethiopia) for verification. Most returnees stated that they had decided to return to Sudan because of peace. They claimed that they were aware of the planned organized repatriation but had no information on the situation in their places of origin. No one reported problems in Ethiopia, but some reported the confiscation of money and other valuables at the border crossing point. UNHCR in Malakal will coordinate with UNHCR in Gambella to ensure the flow of information on the places of origin and other conditions in Upper Nile as well as potential security risks at the border for spontaneous returnees.

Returnees
New arrivals during
the reporting period
Cumulative figures
Refugee returnees since 5 December 2005
11 households/65 persons
144 households/1,076 persons
IDP returnees since 29 November 2005
543 persons
6,107 persons

In Nasir, UNHCR has also started registration of returnees coming from Ethiopia. In the last three weeks, there has been an increasing number of returnees arriving in Nasir. During the reporting period, UNHCR registered 425 refugee returnees (148 families). In addition, the SRRC and Upper Nile Kalazar Education Association (UNKEA) jointly registered 1,684 refugee returnees in the Dingkar area. This brings the total of registered refugee returnees to 2,109 within the past three weeks in Nasir and outlying payams, bomas and villages including Dingkar. UNHCR cannot yet verify the reports from the SRRC and UNKEA because movement is still limited for security reasons. A request for food assistance for the returnees has been forwarded to WFP in Malakal. Following training by UNHCR, the SRRC and UNKEA have also undertaken assessments of some 29 villages around Dingkar.

Spontaneous IDP returns

A large number of spontaneous IDP returnees have begun arriving in Ku'da and Sirmon, about 40 kilometres west of Juba, on the Juba-Rokon-Maridi road. The IDPs are from the Nyangwara tribe and were displaced to Katigiri some 15 years ago. About 1,075 returning households with a total population of 3,349 were registered during the week. The breakdown is as follows: Ku'da: 559 families (1,446 individuals); Sirmon: 516 families (1,903 individuals). The arrival of the returnees triggered an urgent demand for humanitarian aid. WFP has already distributed food assistance to the population. UNHCR provided non-food items on 13 February - 215 bales of plastic sheeting, 27 bales of blankets and 27 boxes of soap.

Return movement of Bor Dinka IDPs

On 12 February, a second group of 363 Bor Dinka IDPs returned from Juba to Bor by barge, assisted by IOM and UNHCR. This follows the first return movement of 376 Bor Dinka IDPs that took place on 4-5 February. The returnees were accompanied by staff from UNHCR, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), OCHA and Handicap International. IOM provided two medical personnel, four operational escorts and blankets while WFP provided biscuits to the IDPs. The barge arrived in Bor in the morning of 13 February and the returnees were welcomed by those who had returned with the first barge movement. UNHCR staff were at the way station to receive the returnees and accommodate them in the shelters. WFP delivered 15-day food rations while UNICEF provided non-food items. UNHCR, UNICEF, Medair and Johaniter Unfall Hilfe held a health and sanitation session for representatives of the returnees. Johaniter provides health services ten hours per day in a tent (provided by UNHCR) temporarily set up as a clinic at the way station.

During the visit to Bor of the Regional Refugee Coordinator for East and Horn of Africa of the Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) of the US Government, Kent (Sam) Healy, the authorities raised the issue of the onward transportation of the Bor Dinka returnees from the way station to their final destinations. With two rotations of the barge, the way station is at full capacity and the authorities fear the long term establishment of an IDP settlement in Bor town. Funding will be sought from the Emergency Relief Fund to pay for the transportation of the returnees to their places of origin.

Assistance to IDPs in Yei

UNHCR assisted Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) and SRRC to coordinate a three-day food distribution from 10 to 12 February for the three IDP caseloads of mostly Bor Dinka who arrived in Yei from Mundri, Yambio and Maridi between November 2005 and January 2006. NPA received 71 metric tons of food for distribution from its warehouse, including sorghum, lentils and oil. American Refugee Committee (ARC) provided soap and hygiene education to the IDPs. SRRC in Yei has re-calculated the number of families/persons of IDPs of immediate concern to UNHCR: Mundri 306 households (1,117 persons), Yambio 117 households (606 persons) and Maridi 800 households (4,174 persons). The total caseload is 1,223 households (5,897 persons). UNHCR and SRRC announced in a meeting with IDP leaders on 9 February that registration is closed. The priority is now to move the three caseloads from Yei to Juba en route to Bor, with a small number going to Bahr el Ghazal and Blue Nile. An assessment of unregistered cases will take place only after these three caseloads have been relocated from Yei.

Protection coordination

In Juba, UNHCR participated in the first meeting of the newly established South Sudan Protection Working Group on 13 February. The group, which was initially operating in Rumbek, aims to address issues of protection policy across South Sudan, coordinate the local Protection Working Groups and engage in high level advocacy. UNMIS will chair the group and OCHA will be the secretariat.

Technical Group for Returnee Monitoring and Assistance

On 8 February, UNHCR chaired a meeting of the recently formed Technical Group for Returnee Monitoring and Assistance for Lakes State. The role of the group is to ensure predictable and well-coordinated support to spontaneous returnees in Lakes State. During the meeting, UNHCR distributed a draft "Standard Operating Procedures" document for discussion. The document describes the roles and actions to be taken by agencies when they are informed of group movements (in the absence of way stations).

Training of police officers with the British Council

At the request of the British Council, UNHCR presented on 11 February a training module on refugee and returnee rights and protection issues to a group of 50 senior police officers from Lakes State, Warrab State, Western Bahr el Ghazal State, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State and Unity State. Key documents, such as the "Joint Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC)/SRRC Policy Framework for the Return of Displaced Persons," were distributed. A representative of the police was invited to participate in future Protection Working Group meetings. The intended outcome of the training is that the police officers will act as trainers to spread the concept of community policing through their cadres.

Community-based protection training in Yirol

A community-based protection training began on 13 February. It aims to establish community-based protection networks in main return and transit areas. It is expected to result in a community protection plan to prevent human rights violations and address protection issues. Training sessions are given by UNHCR, OCHA, UNICEF, NRC, SC-S and IRC. UNMIS Civil Affairs and UN CivPol will also take part in the training in Yirol for the first time. The training targets UN agencies, NGOs, community-based organizations, traditional leaders and other representatives from the local community.

Debriefing on human rights issues by UNMIS

A Human Rights Officer from UNMIS currently on mission to Rumbek from Juba provided a debriefing of her findings. Concerning illegal taxation, she mentioned that a permit, obtained from the Public Security Office, is required for all persons and goods moving between SPLM/A areas. Persons are also required to register with the nearest Public Security Office upon arrival at their destination. Although all permits are supposed to be issued free of charge, there are reports that persons are being charged for permits in Yei. There are also several unofficial checkpoints in Lakes State, notably in Manuol (75 miles from Yei), Malau (seven miles from Rumbek) and Aber (on the way to Wau from Rumbek).

Progress on Community-Based Reintegration Projects

Yei

On 8 February, Yari Primary School was officially handed over to the authorities. The ceremony was attended by the Yei County Commissioner, the County Director of Education, UNHCR and its implementing partner ACROSS. Construction of eight classrooms in two blocks and one administration block were funded by UNHCR. A total of 169 desks, 11 office tables and 10 office chairs were given to the school.

International Aid Services (IAS) completed rehabilitation of four boreholes in Yei County. The boreholes are located at Jigomoni, Merikole, Hai Gowafa and Yei Mosque. This will help in providing water for the ever increasing population of Yei town.

Kajo Keji

Registration of students at the newly constructed Pomoju Girls Secondary School has been taking place throughout the week for senior one and two. A total of 121 girls have been enrolled so far, of whom 39 are for senior two. The school is expected to start classes shortly. Pomoju Girls Secondary School is one of the schools funded by UNHCR and implemented by Jesuit Refugee Service.

Tambura

World Vision International (WVI) drilled three boreholes in Tambura centre.

Mine risk education sessions were given to returnees and in communities of return by Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and a consultant.

Acute diarrhoea outbreak in Yei and Juba

On 9 February, the Deputy Governor of Central Equatoria State visited Yei, where he met with the county authorities and visited the hospital to check on the situation of patients affected by the recent outbreak of acute diarrhoea causing dehydration and death. As of 10 February, 1,187 cases were reported, with 26 deaths and 152 persons in hospital. Meanwhile, the epidemic has spread to Juba and one case has been positively identified as cholera in Lologo transit centre where the Bor Dinka IDPs are staying before onward movement back to Bor. The health agencies and the Ministry of Health are trying to tackle the problem. UNHCR has been requested to assist in the setting up and management of an emergency unit in Lologo.

Ethiopian Anuak refugees

Swedish Free Mission (SFM) reported 89 new arrivals of Ethiopian Anuak refugees from Pibor at Lologo transit centre in Juba since 1 January. In a verification exercise on 13 February, UNHCR confirmed 78 newly arrived individuals from Pibor; those absent were reported to be outside working in the community. The new arrivals are predominantly single men between the ages of 18 and 40. UNHCR conducted random interviews with some of the new arrivals, who stated that the primary reason for their movement from Pibor to Juba was lack of food and water in the Pibor settlement. UNHCR is conducting monthly protection missions to Pibor and has requested additional food rations for the new arrivals. At the same time, UNHCR is seeking to address the poor conditions in the Pibor area.

Update on funding situation for South Sudan as at 2 February 2006 Requirements (includes countries of asylum): US$ 63,203,279 2006 Contributions: US$ 8,629,773

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