March 14, 2017 (JUBA) – The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) said it is providing safe drinking water to over 24,300 vulnerable people in Aburoc, located in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.
- IDPs shelter near the UNMISS base in Wau (IOM/Gonzalez 2016)
This, it said in a statement, includes an estimated 17,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled the fighting in Wau Shilluk in January, leaving their homes with few belongings and placing additional strain on the already limited resource that were available.
According to the agency, its emergency preparedness and response team deployed to Aburoc in Fashoda county on 7 March to begin a water trucking operation to provide desperately needed clean water to the internally displaced as well as host communities.
“Before the operation began, IDPs were accessing a limited quantity of water, below survival needs, and most of them were relying on shallow wells with dirty water that dried up within two to three days,” Antonio Torres, IOM Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programme Coordinator said in the statement.
“Water trucking is providing immediate relief to populations in desperate need,” he added.
Access to clean water, IOM said in the statement, will help prevent the spread of water-borne diseases, such as cholera, which are particularly hazardous among a community experiencing weakened health conditions due to displacement and lack of services.
The fighting in Wau Shilluk in late January forced IOM to halt an IOM biometric registration exercise for the area. The majority of the civilian population, estimated to be approximately 24,000 people, fled Wau Shilluk, mainly to Kodok and Aburoc. An unknown number remain in remote areas surrounding Wau Shilluk.
The emergency operation in Aburoc is supported by a grant from the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) Rapid Response Fund, which is currently supporting 11 relief operations across the country to provide much-needed health, nutrition, protection and WASH assistance.
Vulnerable populations in Fashoda County are facing Crisis-level (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification 3 on a scale of 1 – 5) food insecurity, which is considered severe by food security experts.
Across South Sudan, an estimated 5 million people are reportedly facing severe food insecurity due to the protracted crisis, with approximately 100,000 facing famine conditions in Unity and another 1 million at risk of famine without sustained humanitarian assistance.