IOM Brings Safe Drinking Water to Displaced People in Aburoc, South Sudan

Posted: 
03/14/17
Region-Country: 
Africa and Middle East / South Sudan
Themes: 
Humanitarian Emergencies, Internally Displaced Persons

South Sudan - IOM is now providing safe drinking water to over 24,300 vulnerable people in Aburoc, Upper Nile, South Sudan. This includes an estimated 17,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), who fled the fighting in Wau Shilluk in late January, leaving their homes with few belongings and placing additional strain on the already limited resources of the host community.

An IOM emergency preparedness and response team deployed to Aburoc in Fashoda County on 7 March to begin a water trucking operation to provide desperately needed clean water to IDPs and the host community.

“Before the operation began, IDPs were accessing a limited quantity of water, below survival needs, and most of them were relying on shallow wells with dirty water that dried up within two to three days,” explains Antonio Torres, IOM Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programme Coordinator. “Water trucking is providing immediate relief to populations in desperate need,” he added.

During an assessment mission in late February, displaced people indicated that they were exhausted, having walked long distances from Wau Shilluk to Kodok and on to Aburoc in search of safety, water and food. Partner agencies have estimated that approximately 85 percent of the displaced population in Aburoc are female-headed households.

The Logistics Cluster, managed by the World Food Programme, deployed 7 metric tons of supplies, including inputs to develop a surface water treatment system (SWAT), to Aburoc on 4 March. The supplies also included water bladders to enable immediate water trucking, which began within days.

Access to clean water will help prevent the spread of water-borne diseases, such as cholera, which are particularly hazardous among a community experiencing weakened health conditions due to displacement and lack of services.

The fighting in Wau Shilluk in late January forced IOM to halt its biometric registration exercise for the area. The majority of the civilian population, estimated to be approximately 24,000 people, fled Wau Shilluk, mainly to Kodok and Aburoc. An unknown number remain in remote areas surrounding Wau Shilluk.

The emergency operation in Aburoc is supported by a grant from USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) Rapid Response Fund, which is currently supporting 11 relief operations across the country to provide much-needed health, nutrition, protection and WASH assistance.

Vulnerable populations in Fashoda County are facing Crisis-level (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification 3 on a scale of 1 to 5) food insecurity, which is considered severe by food security experts.

Across South Sudan, an estimated 5 million people are facing severe food insecurity due to the protracted crisis, with approximately 100,000 facing famine conditions in Unity state, and another 1 million at risk of famine without sustained humanitarian assistance.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) fetch water from an unreliable source in Aburoc before IOM water trucking began. Photo: IOM / Luce 2017
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) fetch water from an unreliable source in Aburoc before IOM water trucking began. Photo: IOM / Luce 2017