New site to protect displaced civilians in South Sudan

JUBA – A new Protection of Civilians site being constructed in Juba will provide crucial shelter for 13,200 South Sudanese civilians displaced by the current turmoil in the world’s newest nation.

Thousands of people have died, more than 803,200 people have been internally displaced and another 254,600 have fled to neighbouring countries since the conflict began in mid-December 2013.

In spite of a cessation of hostilities agreement signed in January by the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, and the opposition group loyal to ex-vice president, Riek Machar, fighting still continues in some locations. Thousands of civilians are too afraid to return to their homes for fear of attacks.

UNOPS is coordinating the construction of a Protection of Civilians site in partnership with the Republic of South Sudan, China and the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), with funding from the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the European Commission.

There are currently more than 70,000 people living in Protection of Civilians sites in eight UNMISS bases across the country. However, these sites are ill-equipped and over-crowded, posing serious security and health concerns for those who have taken shelter there.

Located next to UN House in the South Sudanese capital, the new site will accommodate 13,200 of the 37,000 people currently living in cramped conditions in the UNMISS base in Juba. This new site is one of several Protection of Civilians sites that UNOPS and its partners are building to protect the growing number of internally displaced people across the country.

UNOPS has also constructed a new helipad in Lakes State to facilitate the distribution of vital humanitarian aid to the thousands of people who fled fighting in nearby Jonglei State. The helipad was constructed with funding from the South Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund.

UNOPS has maintained a constant presence in South Sudan throughout the crisis, with personnel engaged in critical humanitarian assistance projects despite the unrest. However, it is still not possible to operate in some areas of the country due to access constraints and concern for the safety of UNOPS personnel.