First Group of Vulnerable Bor Dinkas Arrives Home to a Rapturous Welcome
A first group of 400 vulnerable Dinkas helped by IOM arrived to a
rapturous welcome in Bor on Sunday after an 18-hour long river
journey up the White Nile on board an IOM chartered ferry.
The group, consisting of elderly, disabled, expectant mothers
and women with young children, is the first of some 4,200
vulnerable internally displaced persons (IDPs) who will receive
return assistance from IOM over the coming months.
They are part of a group of some 12,000 Dinkas who fled Bor for
Maridi, in Western Equatoria as many as 18 years ago to escape
fighting between Sudanese government forces and the Sudan People's
Liberation Army (SPLA). Following the signing of the peace
agreement on January 2005 and the subsequent handover of Bor to the
government of Southern Sudan, the group decided to return on foot
to their former homes via Juba, with up to half a million cattle,
their prized possession.
“As the ferry sailed up the White Nile, we overtook
several groups of Bor Dinkas who were travelling on foot with their
large herds of cattle. When we overnighted south of Bor, some of
the vulnerable IDPs recognised friends and relatives on the banks
and they were quietly excited and relieved,” says IOM’s
Louis Hoffmann, who travelled with the returnees. “That
evening, as night fell, young Dinkas came on board with fresh milk
and staple food and some families were reunited after many months
In Bor, the returnees were welcomed by the acting governor of
Jonglei state who welcomed the returnees “as citizens and no
longer as IDPs”. IOM disembarked the group at a way station
near Bor where they received temporary food rations from WFP.
“Their reintegration prospects are excellent,” says
IOM’s Louis Hoffmann, “because the group is returning
with their cattle. The Dinkas showed great courage and
determination in returning home, but we have stepped in at the
right time to help the most vulnerable return home.”
While the 4,200 vulnerable Dinkas were at Juba awaiting the
river journey at a UNHCR way station, 15 babies were born and two
women died. The group now also consists of 300 pregnant women.
During the river journey to Bor, IOM staff provided medical
assistance and displayed UNICEF information material on health,
HIV/AIDS and malarial prevention issues.
The IOM chartered ferry also transported a UNHCR truck, a UNICEF
pick up and some 700 kits containing non food items (NFIs) such as
plastic sheeting, mosquito nets, blankets and cooking utensils,
which will be distributed to the most vulnerable by PACT, a partner
Along with additional returnee groups, IOM will continue to
transport NFIs and other essential relief items to facilitate the
reception and reintegration of the Bor Dinkas. The IOM operation,
expected to last two months, is funded by the Japanese
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