News from Africa

IOM Assesses Basic Services in High Return Areas of South Sudan

South Sudan

Témoignages.re / 14 September 2012

IOM has completed collection of data on basic services in 30 counties of high return in South Sudan. The data, which has been amassed since February 2012, comes from over 800 bomas or groups of small villages in 30 of the 78 administrative areas in the country.

This is the most extensive survey to date in South Sudan and will provide tools to analyze gaps in services and identify key areas for development across the country. The findings will be released early next year.

The data will be analyzed in relation to returnees’ access to livelihood opportunities, protection services, water and sanitation, education, and health in those counties.

The results of this large-scale assessment will help lay the ground for a more coherent and efficient approach to returnee reintegration, which remains a critical gap in South Sudan.

Countless host communities are struggling to absorb hundreds of thousands of returnees who made their way back to South Sudan in the lead up to and following the country’s independence last year.

IOM, in partnership with the Government of South Sudan, tracks returns through tracking hubs established at entry points and enumerators verifying returns at a village level. Since January 2012, IOM has recorded over 123,000 new returns to the country.

The states of highest return since 2007 include Northern Bahr el Ghazal (456,542 returnees), Unity (286,146), and Central Equatoria (218,127.) Most returnees return to border areas in states neighbouring Sudan, where much of the infrastructure was damaged during two decades of civil war.

During the first phase of the project, IOM conducted 30 capacity building workshops on data collection for 228 staff from the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission of the Government of South Sudan. In total, 400 staff were trained and involved in the data collection.

"At the beginning of the return movements in 2010 the focus was on the logistics of IDP returns. The issues of reintegration and recovery for returnees was sidelined. The government and the international community now need to concentrate on reintegration to relieve pressure on host communities and returnees in areas where resources were already scarce before the return movements," says Peter Dut, the Director of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission for South Sudan.

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 14, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/

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