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Tue, 02/04/2013

South Sudan is the youngest African country, the 193° UN Member Country, the 54° of the African Union, It was born after a long civil war, one of the longest and most devastating of the continent, when it became indipendent from Sudan, the 9th July 2011.

The two long civil war (the first one from 1955 to 1972 and the second one from 1983 to 2005) left the country in a desasperate condition of undevelopment and backwardness, without infrastructures and with the majority of population devoid of the necessary.The Peace Agreement, “Naiyasha Agreement”, signed in 2005, slightly improved the desperate lives conditions of this country, which is still one of the poorest country in the world, but the ultimate goal of the normalization is still far.

After the referendum of February 2011, the country started to build its democratic infrastructures and the 9th July the indipendence of the country has been proclaimed in the presence of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and many Heads of State, among those even the Sudanese President Omar el Bashir.

 In December 2013 heavy clashes erupted in Juba and  are still ongoing, especially in Upper Nile, Jonglei and UnityThe humanitarian situation has worsened dramatically: there are more than 800,000 displaced people, and 4 million people need humanitarian assistance. INTERSOS is concentrating its interventions in Upper Nile, Unity, Jonglei, Western Equatoria and Central Equatoria to bring assistance, support and protection to displaced families.


The emergency in South Sudan concerns hundreds of thousands of people: the local population, the refugees and the internally displaced people.

The local population, divided in many tribes with different languages, traditions and somatic is mostly devoted to grazing and subsistence farming. The main difficulty is the food obtaining, due to the lack of water; in addition, there is the rainfall regime which alternates very dry seasons to heavy rains; that obviously reduces the arable lands to swamps. In this case the humanitarian intervention focuses on the digging of wells for drinking water and on the provision of seeds and tools to meet the basic food needs. When it is not possible, basic food needs are met by the distribution of rations.

In addition to the food shortage, it must be mentioned the total lack of the basic health services and infrastructures such as streets, bridges, power lines and all the necessary to bring assistance to the population, especially in the more remote areas of the country. The humanitarian assistance has been guaranteed by the UN agencies, such as the World Food Program, which also guarantees a service of small planes to transport the UN and NGOs’ humanitarian staff.

About 803,200 internally displaced people (IDPs) are victims of inter-tribes violence, which have been devastating the country. The affected populations are forced to leave their villages and seek assistance from the IOM, UN Agencies (UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP) and the INGOs. INTERSOS, being part of this emergency response, is primarily focused on providing psychosocial support to victims of violence and to the most vulnerable groups such as women and children.

After the state’s independence in 2011, more than 3.000 refugees left Sudan to come back to their homeland in South Sudan. The huge influx of people that arrived at the border regions between North and South Sudan has been one of the most dramatic emergency situations. During the return trip, these people were exposed to every kind of danger:  lack of medical care, inadequate food and water supplies, violence perpetrated by groups of irregular fighters that still control some border areas of North and South.

In December 2013, clashes erupted in Juba and are still ongoing in many states: thousands of people have been displaced by violence.87.000 people sought refuge within the United Nations peacekeeping bases (UNMISS), that are guaranteeing protection to thousands of civilians. The humanitarian conditions are serious: camps are overcrowded, because of the massive rush of people arriving.  Despite the hard operational context, INTERSOS keeps on providing assistance and protection to the affected population in South Sudan. Nevertheless, thousands of people live in tragic conditions: they urgently need blankets, tents, plastic sheet, food and water, clothes, hygienic kits to avoid epidemics. 

On going intervention

State of Jonglei (intervention started in 2006)
Since December 2011, the inter-tribal disputes, the climatic disasters during the rainy season, and the current clashes embroiling rebel militias with the South Sudanese military and cattle keepers shape the emergency situation in Jonglei State with thousands of displaced people. INTERSOS that has been active in the state for the past seven years, is coordinating the emergency responses for the distribution of Emergency Shelters and Non-Food Items in Jonglei state, is ensuring the right to education for all children affected by emercency and is strengthening protection of vulnerable and conflict-affected women, men and children in Bor and Pibor.

State of Western Equatoria (intervention started in 2009)
In the state of Western Equatoria, we carry out a project of assistance to internal displaced people distributing emergency shelters and  Non-Food Items to the beneficiary populations. In 36 local communities and 12 schools in three payams (regional districts), we promote hygiene and sanitation involving directly local communities, encouraging communities to construct their own latrines with locally available materials.

State of Upper Nile (intervention started in summer 2011)After inter-ethnic  violence erupted in December 2013, thousand sought refuge inside UNMISS base in Malakal. Here INTERSOS staff carries out education and recreational activities for all emergency-affected children, supporting local teachers with trainings and implementing structures dedicated to education. Also INTERSOS is providing protection services and referral to assure assistance and support to children and young people most at risk.  

State of Unity
As fighting contiues in Bentiu, up to 25,000 people are sheltered within the UN base, where we work to provide assistance to the displaced population through the distribution of shelters and emergency kits to people in need. INTERSOS staff runs education projects, intended to guarantee to conflict-affected children safe and protected spaces where they can attend education activities.

State of Central Equatoria 
 The outbreak of the conflict, since December 2013, caused a huge number of displaced people. In Juba, 32,000 people fled to the makeshift camps  within the UNMISS bases to save their lives from violence. Camps are overcrowded and the humanitarian condition is worsening day by day, affecting above al children and women. In this situation, INTERSOS is intervening providing assistance to people living inside the camps: INTERSOS operators constantly distribute emergency kits with blankets, soap, mosquito nets, tarpaulins, jerry cans for water. We run activities to promote hygiene among children and adults, in order to avoid epidemics of mortal waterborne diseases as cholera and malaria. Our operators work every day within the camps to assist and protect most vulnerable children and women and to guarantee to affected children safe spaces and proper education.     

Intersos in the country

INTERSOS has being in South Soudan since 2006, when the first operational base opened in Bor, the capital of the Jonglei State.

In 2009 INTERSOS started the so-called "WASH Program" (Water and Sanitation and Hygiene) in the state of Western Equatoria and opened a base in Yambio and in Ezo.

 Currently INTERSOS is carrying out its emergency humanitarian response in five states of South Sudan. The humanitarian intervention covers a wide range of sectors such as wash, sanitation and hygiene, education and child protection, general protection and protection from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and distribution of Non-Food items and Emergency Shelters. It has established strong partnerships with IOM, UNICEF (of which INTERSOS is implementing partner), WFP, UNOCHA, UNMISS and collaborates closely with other INGOs in the field. During these years INTERSOS is not solely focusing in the South Sudanese emergency context, INTERSOS also conducts trainings and organizes campaigns for further capacity building aiming to the empowerment of the beneficiary populations.      

From the field