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Humanitarian Needs Spike for 83,000 Displaced in Wau, South Sudan

An estimated 83,100 people remain displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance in Wau, South Sudan, following clashes in late June.

While IOM continues lifesaving assistance for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Wau town, humanitarian agencies have been unable to access IDPs sheltering in areas south of town, where insecurity has severely hindered access in recent weeks.

“Securing access to areas outside of Wau is critical to providing assistance to an estimated 38,000 people displaced and in urgent need of help,” explained Andrew Gethi, who leads IOM’s humanitarian operations in Wau.

IOM staffers have been unable to travel to areas south of town, including IOM’s temporary clinic in Ngisa. Insecurity is also stalling plans to rehabilitate boreholes south of Wau to ensure displaced populations have access to safe drinking water.

The fighting in late June and subsequent skirmishes have exacerbated already existing high needs due to insecurity that has affected the area since late 2015.

IOM teams are providing safe drinking water for an estimated 25,000 people sheltering near the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in town, as well as providing shelter support for IDPs living near the base and in collective centres.

As camp manager of a protected area located next to the UNMISS base, IOM has begun site improvement to respond to the increasing numbers of IDPs and resulting overcrowding.

IOM health workers also manage two temporary clinics at the South Sudan Red Cross and the Cathedral in the town of Wau, providing general health care consultations, vaccinations, maternal care and psychosocial support.

The number of people seeking shelter at the UNMISS site and the Cathedral increased rapidly in early July due to fighting in neighboring areas. While the population influx has stabilized, many IDPs have told IOM staff that they believe their neighborhoods remain unsafe and that they would require more information on security conditions before making a decision to return home.

Humanitarians remain concerned about conditions in Raja, further northwest in Western Bahr el Ghazal, where access to affected populations remains restricted following heavy fighting in mid-June that reportedly displaced thousands.

Unpredictable security conditions persist in much of the country, including the capital Juba, where fighting in mid-July displaced over 15,000 people. Amid increasing concerns regarding food insecurity and political instability, the UN estimates that 6.1 million people are in need of humanitarian aid in South Sudan this year.

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).