National, News

UNHCR, partners address humanitarian crisis in Malakal

By Bida Elly David


United Nations Mission in South Sudan collaborates with the European Union and International Organization for Migration (IOM) to address humanitarian crises in Malakal.

Upper Nile State once hit hard by 2013 crisis is now hosting a significant number of returnees and refugees, escaping Sudan War.

Influx of returnees and refugees has created a high demand for humanitarian assistance.

But with limited resources, partners like the UNHCR made efforts to support the returnees and the refugees currently sheltering in Upper Nile State.

Mohammed Tarir Wardak, the head of the UNHCR field office in Malakal, reported that as of last year, approximately 515,000 people had arrived in Upper Nile from Sudan.

Among them, 230,000 are internally displaced persons registered with the United Nations.

Out of these statistics, Mr. Mohammed highlighted that 40,000 internally displaced persons are residing in the Malakal Protection of Civilians site (PoCs), while another 30,000 are sheltering in Malakal town.

The shelters in Malakal town were established by the United Nations after a violent conflict erupted at the main PoC site for reasons that remain unknown.

Although the situation has been challenging, Mohammed mentioned that the UNHCR alongside the state government has been engaged in various activities to support the displaced people.

He said they held, “three Coordination dialogues with the government and supported relevant line ministries in Upper Nile State with technical and material support.”

“We constructed 385 latrines and renovated and equipped a medical facility (surgery building in the Malakal teaching hospital, rehabilitated 4 schools and education facilities,” he said.

Additionally, he said the UNHCR has constructed and maintained a key borehole and conducted capacity-building training for teachers.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has also made progress in addressing the crisis.

Omar Ismail, the head of the IOM delegation in Malakal, reported that they have trained farmers on climate-smart land management and provided seed distribution and cash-based assistance to support livelihood activities.

Mr. Omar said the IOM has also supported youth and women groups in tree planting and the generation of natural species.

“We provided cash assistance for 660 persons through individual business/livelihood support and economic inclusion, interventions resulting from community projects,” he echoed.

Mr. Omar stated that the IOM also constructed three local courts, a women’s center, and a youth center to promote peacebuilding, co-existence, and social cohesion.

He said they have also facilitated community-led forums for dispute resolution.

In light of the livelihood and humanitarian support provided by the UNHCR and IOM, the government partners have recognized the need for the Upper Nile authority to allocate land, provide security, and build shelters for vulnerable citizens to return to their homes and live happily.

In response, Michael Nyato, the Upper Nile Minister of Housing and Public Utility, stated that the government has already planned to demarcate lands for each displaced person to settle.

He acknowledged that the financial crisis has affected the citizens in the PoCs and suburbs and expressed gratitude for assistance from humanitarian organizations.

Mr. Nyato emphasized the need for livelihood support, especially for those in the PoCs who lack opportunities for cultivation.

The Minister said the government is working on improving security in remote areas to enable people to resume farming.

“Once the security is okay like the far areas, the IDPs will come out, I still encourage our people who are still in the PoCs to come out and claim their plots,’’ he noted.

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