10,000 conflict-displaced civilians prepare for relocation in South Sudan

by Danish Refugee Council | Danish Refugee Council (DRC) - Denmark
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 09:44 GMT

Photo by: Jacob Zocherman

Image Caption and Rights Information

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Households most affected by flooding and overcrowding in Malakal, South Sudan are being relocated to a new, improved site for internally displaced people. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has played an important role in the relocation.

As the conflict in South Sudan drags on, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) has risen steadily since fighting first broke out in mid-December, 2013. Malakal in Upper Nile State is one of the worst affected counties in the country, where over 18,000 have sought refuge inside the UNMISS Protection of Civilians site (PoC). The large numbers of IDPs, coupled with the onset of the rainy season have brought real challenges of overcrowding and flooding to the site.

“In Malakal a new extension of land has been leveled and demarcated, family tents have been erected and communal facilities such as washrooms, schools and meeting areas have been installed by DRC and other UN and NGO partners,” says Rakel Larsen, DRC Protection Officer in Malakal. DRC functions as Camp Manager at the PoC in Malakal.

DRC has played a principal role in the relocation of families and individuals from the worst affected parts of the original PoC to the new site. A monumental task, 10,000 persons have been profiled and registered for relocation. Many of the vulnerable persons, such as the elderly and physically disabled, will be assigned tents nearer to latrines and main roads, which will improve their access and welfare considerably.

“Despite constraints and the difficulty of moving, the relocation has been welcomed by the community. Community-led camp management committees representatives have helped immensely in ensuring that the relocation is smooth and peaceful,” says Rakel Larsen.

DRC and UNMISS welcomed the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General Ms. Hilde Johnson to the inauguration of the new PoC on Monday, 9 June 2014.

As of 9 June, approximately 4542 men, women and children have already moved into 501 family tents erected by DRC in the new site. 836 tents family tents remain to be erected and DRC excepts the relocation of the remaining individuals to be completed before the end of June.

With the outbreak of internal conflict, South Sudan is facing a crisis within the crisis. After decades of civil war, South Sudan obtained independence in 2011. Hundreds of thousands of people fled from Sudan to South Sudan, and the country has been tormented by conflicts with Sudan and internal conflict ever since. Danish Refugee Council has been operating in Sudan since 2004. When South Sudan gained independence in 2011, the Danish Refugee Council was already present in the country.

See photo Essay from Malakal: http://drc.dk/index.php?id=7132