IDPs start move to new Juba site

19 Jun 2014

IDPs start move to new Juba site

19 June 2014 - A new protection site beside UNMISS headquarters in Juba was ready to welcome up to 13,300 internally displaced people (IDPs), a senior mission official said today.

“Relocation from the UNMISS Tomping base to the new site is beginning this week,” said Derk Segaar, Recovery, Reintegration and Peacebuilding (RRP) chief. “Progress has continued in the construction of new and extended sites, which better suit the requirements of IDP sites.”

The UNMISS Tomping site, which currently has about 14,493 IDPs, would close when they all move to the new site, he said.

Some 7,000 IDPs had already moved into a new site inside the recently expanded UNMISS base in the Upper Nile State capital Malakal. And a new site in the Jonglei capital Bor was expected to see displaced people move in from the end of June, Mr. Segaar said.

He noted that the new sites would decongest the 10 UNMISS sites across the country which, as of 19 June, were providing shelter for about 95,000 IDPs, “the largest figure since the beginning of the crisis”.

“It could well be over 100,000 as we see a continued influx at our base in (the Unity State capital) Bentiu,” said Mr. Segaar, adding that verifications of numbers were ongoing as people continued to arrive at the base, many in malnourished condition.

The RRP chief noted that the new sites would considerably alleviate pressure on existing space and poor conditions, but were only adequate for the existing IDP caseload and would be insufficient for continuously growing IDP figures or a sudden influx on a large scale.

He reiterated, however, that UNMISS would continue to work with humanitarian actors to assist people in locations outside the mission’s bases.

“These are only temporary solutions to avoid a health crisis during the rainy season,” he said. “In the longer term, we hope a political solution and the stabilization of the security situation will create the conditions in which the IDPs will feel safe to go home.”

UNMISS Senior Protection of Civilians Adviser Jeffrey Buenger emphasized that the mission in line with its new mandate would continue to support their protection, but it remained the South Sudanese government’s responsibility to provide protection for all its citizens.

He also clarified that peacekeepers had a role to protect civilians in all areas, including those with oil installations, but not the oil fields themselves.