IOM, Partners Distribute Shelter Materials to Vulnerable South Sudan Households

By International Office of Migration (IOM)

IOM South Sudan and World Vision have conducted a joint mission to Wau Shilluk, Upper Nile State, to distribute urgently needed shelter materials to displaced and vulnerable host community households in the area.

For much of 2015, the population in Wau Shilluk was effectively cut off from all humanitarian assistance due to access restrictions. As a result, many households have been living in dilapidated and crowded shelters, constructed of old materials and vulnerable to rain and flooding.

Relief agencies were unable to conduct frequent needs assessments and distributions, which are crucial in areas such as Wau Shilluk that experience repeated population influxes due to conflict and food insecurity.

Following several months of negotiations, relief agencies regained access to the area briefly in late August and for a sustained period since early October.

On behalf of the Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI) Cluster, IOM and World Vision distributed shelter reinforcement supplies, including plastic sheeting and nylon and rubber ropes, sourced from the IOM shelter/NFI pipeline.

The distributions targeted an estimated 31,000 people, reaching nearly all of the Wau Shilluk population. The reinforcement materials will enable households to replace old shelter materials to protect them from wind and rain.

“In addition to coping with restrictions on humanitarian access for months, insecurity and limits on movements to Malakal have limited the availability of shelter materials in the market in Wau Shilluk. Even if these materials were readily available, households in the area are exhausting their coping mechanisms and lack the means to purchase proper materials,” said Shelter/NFI Cluster Co-Coordinator Persiana Kamberaj.

In late July and early August, thousands of people fled from Wau Shilluk across the White Nile River to reach the UN protection of civilian (PoC) site in Malakal to obtain humanitarian assistance, particularly food.

Although many of these displaced households have since returned to Wau Shilluk, due to increased humanitarian presence and freedom of movement, needs in the area remain high, as vulnerable households in the area are facing severe food insecurity.

Currently, another IOM team is on the ground to conduct a biometric registration to support a scale-up of relief services in Wau Shilluk and surrounding areas.

Exactly two years into the crisis in South Sudan, more than 1.66 million people remain internally displaced and another 647,300 people have fled to neighbouring countries. IOM and partners remain committed to providing lifesaving assistance to affected populations as insecurity continues to prompt displacement and prolongs suffering.