South Sudan Communities Receiving Regular Aid in Previously Inaccessible Areas

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For over a month, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been able to provide consistent primary health care in Greater Baggari, South Sudan, which is an area south of Wau town that had been cut off from assistance for over a year. Improved access in recent months has enabled IOM to reach people living further south with lifesaving assistance.

Only weeks after the crisis erupted in June 2016, humanitarian access to Baggari – an hour’s drive from Wau town – was restricted. Displaced people and host communities were cut off from both relief aid and markets. In the months that followed, frequent insecurity further forced many people to flee to harder to reach areas, deeper into the bush.

As part of a multi-agency effort, IOM regained access to the area in August 2017 and conducted a distribution of shelter and relief items. Although additional impediments continued to make access difficult in the weeks that followed, IOM and other relief agencies have had consistent access to the area since October.

As access continues to open, we plan to conduct outreach missions to reach further into these remote areas to offer these much-needed services

Due to restricted access and constraints on livelihoods, food insecurity and malnutrition in Baggari are among the highest in all of South Sudan. In response to dire needs, IOM opened a clinic in Farajallah, Greater Baggari, on 11 December and hired five people from the community to operate it. IOM’s Wau-based medical team visits the clinic once a week to refill supplies and vaccines, maintain the cold chain and provide capacity-building and technical expertise.

“Many people are arriving at the clinic exhausted and dehydrated, some walking as long as four hours from remote areas, like Congoulesi,” explained Dr. Mary Alai, an IOM Migration Health Officer based in Wau. “As access continues to open, we plan to conduct outreach missions to reach further into these remote areas to offer these much-needed services. Consistent access is critical to prevent a further deterioration of health conditions.”

Since December 2017, the clinic has conducted over 970 consultations and seen an increase in the number of consultations as information of the clinic’s presence reaches communities living in remote areas.

In addition to health and shelter assistance, IOM conducted a four-day Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) intervention in November last year to repair boreholes, conduct hygiene promotion and form water management committees. In the coming weeks, IOM will conduct further needs assessments in Baggari and continue providing much-needed aid.

An estimated 40,500 people remain in displacement sites in Wau town, in addition to those in remote areas. Although some families have begun returning home, concerns regarding security conditions continue to inhibit many people from leaving displacement sites, according to an intentions survey conducted by IOM last December.

Since June 2016, IOM has offered multi-sector humanitarian assistance to the affected population in Wau with support from the USAID Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the Government of Japan, the European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Canada and the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF).