April 12, 2017 (WAU) - A recent upsurge in violence beginning 10 April has displaced an estimated 8,000 people in South Sudan’s Wau town, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Wednesday.
- IDPs shelter near the UNMISS base in Wau (IOM/Gonzalez 2016)
IOM said it teams and relief agencies are providing assistance to new arrivals at existing displacement sites, which was already hosting nearly 43,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled their homes due to insecurity in June 2016.
The Displacement Tracking and Monitoring (DTM) teams were reportedly deployed to displacement sites in Wau on 11 and 12 April to assess the scale of new displacement.
Between 10 and 12 April, approximately 4,000 people arrived at the protection of civilians (PoC) site adjacent to the UN Mission in South Sudan base, joining more than 25,200 IDPs already sheltering in the site, IOM said, adding that an additional 3,800 people arrived at the cathedral site, hosting nearly 8,000 people since June.
“With thousands of people fearful to return to their homes, humanitarian needs in Wau continue to grow,” said IOM South Sudan chief of mission, William Barriga.
“The displacement figure is likely to increase over the coming days as families continue to seek protection at displacement sites," he added.
At least 16 dead bodies, the United Nations mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said, were discovered by its peacekeepers on patrol on Monday, with 10 others injured.
Fighting reportedly spread to Wau town after “a number of government SPLA soldiers were killed in an ambush on Sunday to the south of the town of Wau."
At least 84 people, UNMISS said, arrived at the protection of civilians’ site, with an influx of about 3,000 people, mostly women and children at a Catholic church in Wau.
The fighting, the U.N further stated, followed the movement of SPLA troops, tanks, and equipment towards the south-western part of Wau late last week.
Aid agencies say more than 7.5 million people, out of an estimated population in South Sudan of 12 million, are in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 4.9 million people facing severe food insecurity due to displacement, conflict and economic decline since mid-December 2013.