Palorinya settlement, established in December 2016, hosts more than 180,000 South Sudanese refugees across 37.58 square kilometers of land. While infrastructure and funding challenges are significant barriers to a more comprehensive response, partners continue to provide essential services and assistance within the settlement.
Gaps & Challenges
Though backlogs in non-food item (NFI) provision have been improved, efforts to address this are still ongoing. Refugees still lack a significant number of essential items, including kitchen sets, solar lamps, jerry cans, farming tools, and hygiene items such as soap, underwear, and sanitary towels. NFIs initially distributed to refugees upon their arrival to Palorinya, including mosquito nets, have reportedly worn out and are costly for households to replace on their own. Floods in May 2017 have destroyed shelters previously constructed in Zone 3 West, ruining core relief items such as shelter tarpaulins and forcing residents to relocate elsewhere in the settlement.
Physical infrastructure is not sufficient. The number of latrines is insufficient to serve some areas of the settlement, particularly in Zone 1. Poorly-constructed or incomplete latrines pose a danger to refugees’ physical well-being, as children have reportedly fallen into uncovered pits. Respondents indicate hand-washing facilities are not prevalent and water distribution tanks are not frequently cleaned. With respect to education, many schools only have temporary structures or have none at all, in which case classes are held under trees and are not attended when weather is inclement.
Long distances to health centers and the unavailability of ambulances prevent refugees from seeking professional treatment. These centers are often overcrowded and lack sufficient staff to serve patients in a timely manner.
Because distributed rations are reportedly not inadequate to meet household needs, lack variety, and are often delayed, refugees face risks of malnutrition, with resultant implications for their well-being. Refugees reported that children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to malnourishment.
The risk of environmental degradation is increasing as refugees attempt to generate much-needed income, reinforce their shelters, or have cooking materials through the collection of wood. These activities could also stoke tensions between land-owning host community members and settlement residents if not addressed. Few organizations active in the settlement are promoting natural resource preservation and environmental awareness.
Deteriorated road infrastructure hinders the delivery of aid and programme operations, while flooding is reported to frequently render roads impassable. The daily presence of large vehicles trucking water deepens the wear on road networks
Strengths & Opportunities
Leadership within the host community and local government structures ensure that the refugee response is well-integrated with the surrounding communities and environment. Although tensions exist, relations between the hosts and refugees are generally cordial. As aid programming shifts from the emergency to the development phase, there is an opportunity for the integration of host communities in sustainable programming through the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) framework.
Beneficiaries have sought out and participated in income-generating activities, providing a strong basis for further livelihoods programming aimed at self-resilience and entrepeneurship.