IOM: 8,000 people displaced by Wau violence
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the recent upsurge in violence beginning 10 April has displaced an estimated 8,000 people in South Sudan’s Wau town.
The organization said its teams and relief agencies are providing assistance to new arrivals at existing displacement sites, which had already been hosting nearly 43,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had fled their homes due to insecurity in late June 2016.
“IOM Displacement Tracking and Monitoring (DTM) teams were deployed to displacement sites in Wau on 11 and 12 April to assess the scale of new displacement,” IOM said in a statement.
It further said between 10 and 12 April, approximately 4,000 people arrived at the protection of civilians (PoC) site adjacent to the UN Mission in South Sudan base, joining more than 25,200 IDPs already sheltering in the site, adding that an additional 3,800 people arrived at the Cathedral site, which has been hosting nearly 8,000 people since June.
“With thousands of people fearful to return to their homes, humanitarian needs in Wau continue to grow,” says William Barriga, IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission.
“The displacement figure is likely to increase over the coming days as families continue to seek protection at displacement sites,” he added.
The aid agency pointed out that clashes were intense in areas south and west of Wau town, including near the Nazareth church displacement site, saying DTM teams observed that many IDPs, who were seeking protection at the Nazareth church compound, have left for the PoC site and Cathedral, in search of more secure areas.
“While conditions in the town had calmed by 11 April, IOM received reports of gunfire in south and west areas of Wau on the morning of 12 April and observed additional IDPs moving towards the PoC site,” partly reads the statement.
Humanitarian organization reported that more than 7.5 million people, out of an estimated population in South Sudan of 12 million, are in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 4.9 million people facing severe food insecurity due to displacement, conflict and economic decline since December 2013.
Photo: Displaced civilians at UN PoC in Wau town on 28 June, 2016/Francis Irigu