By Dipo Olowookere
IOM teams are providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance, including emergency medical support, to displaced and conflict-affected families in insecure and hard-to-reach areas of South Sudan.
Response teams are currently operating in the Greater Equatoria region, where people have had limited access to aid in recent months. Humanitarian needs increased significantly in the whole country over 2016 as the crisis spread to previously peaceful areas, including the Greater Equatoria region. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the country has now reached 1.87 million.
“Since the crisis erupted three years ago, millions of people have been unable to return to their homes. New shocks have affected both displaced and newly vulnerable populations, while placing increasing pressure on host communities and already stretched humanitarian operations,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission William Barriga.
In Mundri East and West counties, Western Equatoria, an October inter-agency assessment identified 75,000 people who had been affected by several months of armed clashes and insecurity in the area.
Through a follow-up assessment in late November, IOM identified a need for shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance. In order to reach the most vulnerable households, IOM deployed an emergency preparedness and response team on 6 December to provide aid to approximately 4,000 households living in a highly volatile environment.
Six IOM trucks travelled from Juba along insecure routes for two days to reach Mundri with relief items. IOM teams distributed plastic sheets, mosquito nets, blankets, menstrual hygiene kits, household water treatment supplies, soap, jerry cans and buckets to vulnerable households. IOM is also improving local communities’ access to safe drinking water and conducting hygiene promotion activities and trainings.
On 15 December, a rapid response team focusing on health was deployed to Yei – a Central Equatoria town – where IDPs and members of the host community are in need of humanitarian assistance due to months of insecurity. With Africa Action Help International and the South Sudanese Health Department, the health team immediately set up a temporary clinic to provide emergency primary health care, as well as immunizations and reproductive health care.
Nurses, health promoters and community mobilizers were recruited and over 350 health consultations have been conducted to date. The number of consultations is expected to increase in the coming days as health promoters visit households to inform the community of the availability of health services.
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