IOM responding to malaria epidemic in South Sudan, 2015 [Photo credit/ IOM]]
By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
JUBA, 16 February [Gurtong] –In a statement released on Tuesday by the IOM, some 4.9 million people are facing severe food insecurity and 1.84 million are displaced internally, in addition to approximately 1.2 million who have fled to neighbouring countries.
“Needs soared over the course of 2016 as the crisis spread to previously relatively stable regions, and deepened in Greater Upper Nile,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission, William Barriga.
“As civilians continue to bear the brunt of the violence, a political solution to the ongoing crisis is needed urgently," he added.
As needs grow and worsen, humanitarian workers are facing increasing difficulty in accessing affected populations due to insecurity and bureaucratic impediments, complicating efforts to reach the most vulnerable and compounding existing needs.
In response to the expanding crisis, IOM’s 2017 consolidated appeal reportedly highlights emergency humanitarian assistance based on existing capacity, focusing on the most urgent needs through health, logistics, shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, as well as camp coordination and camp management and mental health and psychosocial support programming.
IOM will continue providing assistance at displacement sites, including protection of civilian sites, collective centres and other areas of displacement. Response teams will sustain robust efforts to reach populations in remote and often volatile areas.
Mindful of the need to protect development gains that were achieved prior to the July 2016 crisis and build the foundations for post-conflict recovery, IOM continues to carry out multi-dimensional programmes guided by peace-building and development principles.
The agency further said its Transition and Recovery and Migration Management programmes will continue to operate alongside the overall humanitarian response in areas where conditions allow, emphasizing the link between relief and development.
IOM has had an operational presence in South Sudan since 2005, establishing a country office in 2011 following the country’s independence. For instance, immediately after the conflict erupted in December 2013, IOM reportedly restructured its activities in response to the emergency.
IOM South Sudan, to date, remains one of the Organization’s largest missions, with 450 staff stationed across the country to implement humanitarian, transition and recovery, and migration management activities.