by Mary Obara, Program Coordinator, LWF South Sudan
The rains that began in late August have persisted into October, with good indications that perhaps the harvest from the good crop in parts of South Sudan (especially the Equatorias) will have a good harvest this time round.
However, the rains do not mean the same for Jonglei state our main project area. The area has instead witnessed flooding due to the prolonged rains. The flooding has seriously hampered our project activities in the area due to inaccessibility (bad roads). However, project activities still went on in accessible areas:
With funding from the Act Appeal LWF is doing the following:
Two assessments have been carried out in the two sites – Fangak and Uror County.
- Fangak County received over 5000 internally displaced persons due to military activity in the neighboring Pigi County. A letter from the commissioner of Fangak to the State governor and copied to NGOs called for help to address the humanitarian state of the IDPs. The IDPs, residents of Pigi County had been evacuated at short notice by the SPLA to the safer area of Fangak Island so that they can reduce civilian casualties on their onslaught on the militia group.
- Following the retaliatory August attacks on Uror County by the Murle from Pibor County, there were 826 injuries, 356 abductions, 1801 burnt houses, 31,091 displaced from their homes, 10 schools burnt and 102 pupils among the dead and 100 still missing.
Response: Only LWF has responded to the IDP situation in Fangak County with distribution of early livelihood recovery items like fishing nets/twines and vegetable seeds. This will help the IDPs to have some food to feed their families as they wait to go back home inPigiCounty where they abandoned their farms in the hurry to relocate. LWF has secured some1000 NFIs from IOM and once these are released to us, they will be distributed to the targeted households.
Response in Uror County has been more coordinated with Save the Children, tearfund, The Polish Humanitarian Action and WFP responding. The County is currently flooded and access is only through the only all weather airstrip in Pieri. Plans are underway to respond to Pieri, a location hosting over 17,000 IDPs and where none of the agencies has been able to respond. Through the Sudan Council of Churches, we have had access to a UNMIS flight which has promised to airlift 2000 NFIs to Pieri for distribution. LWF is working closely with the local Presbyterian Church, Peace committees and local government in this intervention.
Collaboration with the Church: Because of the escalation of conflict in Jonglei State, various actors have taken keen interest to bring peace in the State. There are un-coordinated efforts from the State government, UNDP, UNMIS and the Church. LWF is working with the church effort under SCC led by the Arch Bishop Deng of the Episcopal Church.
The Church has invited LWF to respond in Pibor County where no agency has been since the April to June attacks that left over 1000 people dead and more than 20,000 displaced. The church under the leadership of SCC is funded by UNMIS to carry out peace initiatives among the three warring tribes (Nuer, Murle and Dinka). DCA has also funded the SCC to come up with a general frame work of intervention by all churches in their various strengths in the search of peace for Jonglei State.
Other on-going activities:
The biggest activity during this wet season was the repairing of an 8km Primary Dyke in Jonglei under the EU/NRM funded project. Taking advantage of the season, LWF supported the Twic East County department in identifying a contractor and mobilizing the community flood task forces and funds for the repair of a 24km dyke portion that has got worn out over the years. This has been the cause of extensive flooding in the area.
This is the period also set aside for many capacity building activities. Project staff and Local government authorities have been trained on project management issues.