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UK Backs Life-Saving IOM Aid to Displaced in South Sudan

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, November 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- December 15th will mark the one-year anniversary of renewed fighting in South Sudan. The conflict has resulted in the displacement of over 1.8 million people, over 102,000 of whom have sought shelter in UN bases throughout the country.

One of the largest of these so-called Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites is in Malakal, Upper Nile State. The site provides emergency shelter and protection to over 17,000 people and internally displaced people (IDPs) continue to trickle in.

Fighting in the area is ongoing and it is unlikely that residents will be able to leave in the near future. Conditions on the site, which floods during South Sudan's long rainy season, are congested and unsanitary.

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) has now stepped in with a contribution of GBP 1.6 million to help IOM and its humanitarian partners in the Camp Coordination Camp Management Cluster to expand the Malakal site to house an additional 6,000 people.

IOM is taking advantage of the onset of South Sudan's dry season to complete the Malakal PoC expansion. Site planners and water/sanitation teams are currently digging drainage trenches, expanding the berm and raising the foundation of the site to provide a developed and dry base for emergency shelters. These improvements will ensure appropriate drainage and reduce the risk of future flooding.

IOM is also providing primary health services at an IOM clinic and delivering clean water to IDPs at the site through water and sanitation programmes.

DFID will also contribute GBP 2 million to the IOM-coordinated Shelter Cluster's continued provision of tents and non-food relief items for IDPs throughout South Sudan. IOM procures these supplies in bulk, ensures that they are standardized, maintains a supply pipeline and delivers them for distribution to the most vulnerable displaced people across the country.

“This is the first time IOM South Sudan has received bi-lateral funding from DFID since the country's independence in 2011. This contribution in the last quarter of 2014 has come at a critical moment and is enabling us to directly address vital gaps,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission David Derthick.

“The funding will allow the Shelter Cluster to pre-position items across the country as part of its overall dry season response planning and reduce the risk of a break in the supply pipeline. It will also allow IOM to procure and preposition items through the end of 2014 and into the beginning of 2015, while the Cluster secures more funding for the rest of 2015,” he added.

To see a video of life in the Malakal PoC site, please go to: http://youtu.be/QAgHDoNwNvA