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IOM decries continued population displacement in S. Sudan

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November 25, 2016 (JUBA) - As South Sudan’s armed conflict enters its fourth year, civilians have continued to flee the violence that has gripped much of the country, resulting in vast humanitarian needs.

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A woman carries water through a UN camp for internally displaced people in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state (Photo: IOM)

According to recent figures from the United Nations, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continues to rise, and has now reached an all-time high of 1.87 million since December 2013.

Currently, over 212,000 IDPs are reportedly being hosted in UN protection of civilian (PoC) sites across the world’s youngest nation.

The IDP population at the PoC site in Bentiu, Unity, has reached more than 108,300, representing an increase of over 14% since August, and matching levels not seen since April this year, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said Friday.

More than 7,300 people, it added, have arrived at the site since the end of October, largely from Koch, Leer and Rubkona counties.

“Worsening trends of insecurity are preventing IDPs from returning to their homes in many parts of the country. While civilians are grappling with deteriorating humanitarian conditions, access constraints are making it more difficult for IOM and relief agencies to deliver aid to the most vulnerable, particularly in recent weeks,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission, William Barriga.

IOM also says displacement figures remain high in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal, the site of heavy fighting in June and ongoing insecurity.

Over 41,000 people, the highest number since June, are sheltering at the PoC site adjacent to the UNMISS base and in collective centres across Wau town, according to the IOM-led population counts.

“Of the 174 IDPs who arrived at the Wau PoC site last week, all cited security concerns as their core motivation for seeking protection at the site,” the agency further stressed.

Violence also continues to drive increased displacement in other parts of the country, including areas around Yei, Central Equatoria.

Nearly 3 million South Sudanese have fled their homes in the past three years. With over 1.1 million refugees in neighbouring countries, over 362,000 people have fled the country since July, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

(ST)

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