August 17, 2016 (JUBA) - Over 37,200 displaced persons are currently seeking protection at one of the two United Nations peacekeeping bases in the South Sudan capital, Juba, according to a population count held at the protection of civilians (PoC) site on Saturday.
- IDPs shelter near the UNMISS base in Wau (IOM/Gonzalez 2016)
Renewed violence and instability have generated new displacement in South Sudan in recent months. Facing insecurity and hunger, more than 190,000 people continue to seek protection at PoC sites across the country, in Juba, Bentiu, Malakal, Wau, Bor and Melut.
The majority of the 37,200 internally displaced persons (IDPs) living at the UN House PoC site fled the violence that erupted in Juba on 15 December 2013 and quickly spread throughout the country. Thousands more fled to the base when fighting resumed in the capital between government and opposition forces in July 2016.
To determine the current size of the IDP population in the site, IOM reportedly joined ACTED, camp manager of the UN House PoC site, and other UN and non-governmental organisations to conduct the population count.
The exercise began before dawn to ensure accuracy, with a house-to-house operation.
The population count is important for the delivery of services, particularly food assistance. The exercise will improve planning for humanitarian assistance and enable the UN World Food Programme to provide food for the full population registered at the site.
“Interagency cooperation was essential to the success of the exercise. Staff from 15 agencies participated in the population count, from planning to logistics to implementation,” said Andrea Paiato, IOM Camp Coordination and Camp Management Programme Coordinator.
The UN Mission in South Sudan peacekeeping troops and UN Police reportedly provided security, while camp management and partners conducted a messaging campaign before registration.
The fighting in Juba in July between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and the armed opposition forces displaced at least 15,000 people, of which over 12,500 reportedly remain displaced at the UN House PoC site, UNMISS peacekeeping base in Tong Ping and collective centres.
IOM said it is coordinating with relief agencies to provide emergency assistance to IDPs at the Tong Ping site, managing an emergency health care clinic, providing shelter and ensuring access to safe drinking water.