After decades of civil war, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9th July 2011. Despite great hopes that a new nation state would bring peace and security to the war torn population, the situation is now extremely critical. On 15th December 2013, fighting erupted in the capital of Juba, following an alleged coup attempt by the ousted vice-president, Riek Machar against the president, Salva Kiir. Violence quickly spread throughout the country, escalating along ethnic lines.
More than 1 million people have fled their homes since mid-December, including more than 959,000 who are currently sheltering across nearly 200 different displacement sites within the country, whilst more than 293,000 have fled to neighboring countries(UNOCHA/april 2014). It is estimated that up to 7 million people (out of a total population of barely 11,2 million) are at risk of food insecurity – with over 3,7 million being at high risk or in acute need of assistance (UNOCHA/april 2014).
In addition, more than 235,000 refugees, primarily from Sudan, reside in South Sudan. The majority are staying in refugee camps located in Unity and Upper Nile States, where they are dependent on humanitarian assistance.
Moreover, following forty years of armed conflict, South Sudan is littered with small arms, unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and mines. The true extent of contamination is unknown, there could still remain millions of items to be discovered and destroyed.
About the programme
DRC has been operational in South Sudan since 2005, working with the overall objective of providing durable solutions for refugees, IDPs and returnees. The Danish Demining Group (DDG), which is a unit of DRC, started Humanitarian Mine Action in 2006 and Armed Violence Reduction (AVR) in 2009. With operations in six states - Northern Bar el Ghazal, Warrap, Unity, Upper Nile, Eastern and Western Equatoria – DRC/DDG was well established in South Sudan long before the current conflict. DRC/DDG aims to address the massive needs for humanitarian assistance, protection, conflict-reduction and recovery in South Sudan through five main programmatic pillars of expertise:
- Emergency Response
- Mine Action
- Armed Violence Reduction
- Food Security & Livelihoods
- Community Driven Development
In recent years, DRC/DDG has been a key responder to the refugee influx into South Sudan, setting up and managing refugee camps in Upper Nile and Unity states. DRC is responsible for Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) in three camps (Doro, Yusuf Batil and Ajuong Thok) and supports a further two camps in Maban County. DRC’s Refugee Programme engages in sectors such as:
- Community services
- Protection (including GBV)
- Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFIs)
- Infrastructure and logistics
DRC also undertakes the key role of Refugee Co-coordinator with UNHCR for the nationwide refugee response. Moreover, the DRC is implementing community driven development, food security and livelihood projects to support durable solutions for returnees, IDPs and host communities.
In response to the current political crisis in South Sudan – and the large scale displacement that has occurred since December 2013 – DRC/DDG has expanded its programming, initiating new projects and activities, primarily in Unity and Upper Nile States.
DRC has assumed responsibility for Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) at the UNMISS Protection of Civilian sites in Bentiu (Unity state) and in Malakal (Upper Nile State) – where DRC also engages in shelter, NFIs and protection services. Additional projects have also been developed to support IDPs staying in spontaneous settlements in areas that have been inaccessible and/or unassisted.
DDG is engaged in the removal of unexploded ordnances and provision of Mine Risk Education (MRE).
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