Juba 5 January 2012
Happy New Year to you and greetings from Juba and the LWF South Sudan team! I would like to send you my first situation report on what LWF South Sudan and what we intend to do to respond to the crisis currently unfolding in Jonglei state in South Sudan.
Jonglei state declared a disaster zone – The South Sudan Government has declared the state of Jonglei (LWF`s main program area) a disaster zone. The region has suffered inter-tribal fighting in recent days, and the GoSS is appealing to the international relief agencies to help in providing relief assistance to the affected populations. Fighting erupted in the last 2 weeks when the 6,000 armed men from the Lou-Nuer ethnic group attacked Pibor county, the home of the Murle community, in the latest of a series of raids between the two groups.
Between 20,000 and 50,000 members of the Murle community have been displaced and hundreds are expected to have been killed. Over 1,000 have died in cattle raids, abductions and counter attacks in the last seven months.
Authorities say that the number of the dead in the latest attack, which reached its peak over New Year, may never be known because the casualties from the first heavy fighting in the areas of Nam or Biemni, at the border areas between the two communities, was not assessed.
Coordination – Today I have been in contact with UN teams in Bor, NCA and Marc from SCC, to start coordinating an ACT response to this crisis. I am also looking at what possibilities there are to work with local churches in Jonglei under the SCC umbrella. I have dispatched our LWF South Sudan emergency coordinator Michael Mading to Bor to start carrying out preliminary assessments and coordinate on behalf of LWF and the ACT South Sudan forum on the ground. Michael Mading had a series of meetings this morning in Bor with the UN (OCHA) Save the Children and UNMISS. We are expecting UNMISS tomorrow, to send a helicopter to Pibor town with an assessment team and LWF will be part of this joint UN assessment. I hope to give you a further report with photos tomorrow afternoon.
LWF Response – The Governor of Jonglei state has issued a plot of land to LWF to set an Emergency base for our response. I intend next week to erect two rubb hall stores where we will store relief supplies. We have about 200 NFI kits in Bor already and more are coming from our stores in Panyagor (LWF base), they are part of the stocks we have purchased under ACT Appeal SDN 112. I am also dispatching our trucks from Ikotos (LWF second base) to Bor to provide the transport capacity for this response.
ACT Alert and Preliminary Appeal – Our current ACT Appeal SDN112 is coming to an end on the 31st March 2012 and we have received USD 629,349 mainly from SIDA/Church of Sweden and Danchurchaid. We are now discussing the need to issue out another appeal to respond to Jonglei. We will therefore be issuing an ACT Alert and preliminary appeal through the ACT Secretariat once we are able to carry our initial assessments in the coming days.
Additional Support needed – In terms of additional support, we will need support in the area of a communications officer, particularly in helping us send out timely high quality feature stories and photos in the coming weeks. We will also require expertise in psychosocial programming which we are discussing with Church of Sweden.
Arie Den Toom
LWF South Sudan Country Representative