IOM Responds to Humanitarian Needs after Fighting in Malakal, South Sudan
South Sudan - IOM is responding to urgent humanitarian needs after heavy fighting erupted between armed actors in the UN protection of civilians (PoC) site near South Sudan’s Malakal town on 17 February.
The violence and a fire that ripped through the site have left at least 18 people dead, forced at least 25,000 IDPs to flee their shelters to secure areas of the site, and destroyed critical humanitarian infrastructure, including two IOM primary health care clinics.
The fighting continued through 18 February, leaving some areas of the PoC site looted and burned, including shelters, clinics and water tanks.
First responders from medical NGOs and IOM are treating at least 91 people injured in the fighting. Casualty figures may increase once humanitarian workers gain access to all affected areas of the site to assess the situation.
“IOM and our partners are using all available measures to save lives. However, the destruction of humanitarian facilities severely hinders our ability to assist the vulnerable when they are most in need,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission David Derthick.
Additional IOM technical and operational specialists were deployed to the Malakal PoC site on 19 February to assess needs and facilitate lifesaving aid operations. In addition, IOM is dispatching 6.5 metric tonnes of emergency relief items, including tents for medical assistance, to Malakal via cargo flight.
Prior to the fighting, over 47,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Shilluk, Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups, as well as Darfuris, were seeking protection at the site in response to the two-year conflict and rising humanitarian needs across the country.
When the fighting broke out, the majority of these IDPs fled to secure areas of the site that were not designed to host IDPs, and thousands of others left the PoC site for surrounding areas.
In coordination with partners, IOM is installing temporary water points to provide safe water to IDPs and taking measures to ensure a continual supply of water from the White Nile River, which is the source of most of the water used by the PoC site.
IOM and partners had developed new areas of the PoC site in 2014 and 2015 to improve living conditions for IDPs and shelter new arrivals, including an influx of 16,000 IDPs in mid-2015.
Since December 2013, the conflict in South Sudan has displaced more than 2.3 million people, including an estimated 1.69 million IDPs. Relief agencies estimate that approximately 6.1 million people will be in need of humanitarian aid this year.