This article was last updated on May 26, 2022
Since the December internal armed conflict in South Sudan began, thousands of people from Jonglei state fled to neighbouring states including EES. A verified total of 3,720 (unverified 18,969) IDPs from Jonglei have since camped in a remote place, about 20km, South-East of Nimule town.
However, since January, IDPs in Melijo have been living with barely anything to eat and in neglected conditions, a risk for an outbreak of communicable diseases. There is only one community pit latrine and four boreholes in the camp.
The head chief in the camp Abraham Thon says they need food, health and sanitary facilities urgently. “People (host community) don’t want us here. We are in our country, South Sudan but our leaders are not helping us,” Thon bitterly said.
Bernard Lukwiya, a site planner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) together with a Health Link South Sudan team led by the Executive Director Emmanuel Douglas, in a site needs assessment visit on Tuesday, assured the IDPs of their readiness to assist them.
“Our coming here is the recognition of the fact that you need assistance,” the UNHCR official said. “What we need to know is how much assistance you need; how many latrines, schools and health facilities?”
Thon says without improving the access roads, no food aid can reach the suffering IDPs in Melijo. “How will the food pass without the road being cleared? First fix the road and then transport the food,” he said.
The UNHCR representative also admitted the poor condition of the road but gave the IDPs some hope. “We know the road here is not good. I have come to determine what actually is needed. Hopefully, soon you will begin to see the sense of our visit,” he said.
At least three bridges and two culverts would be required to make the Nimule-Melijo camp road accessible by heavy trucks for food and non-food items delivery. At the moment, only landcruiser-hardtop vehicles ply the route.
However, to ascertain the exact number of IDPs in Melijo, Health Link South Sudan has pledged to carry out a registration exercise in the camp in the next two weeks. “We are planning to do proper registration in two weeks,” said Douglas.
Delivery of services to the IDPs in Melijo has been hampered by a misunderstanding between EES government and humanitarian organizations. Nevertheless, the differences according to Douglas have been resolved.
Health Link South Sudan, a national non-profit organisation, provides Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) in Melijo, Kapoeta South and a transit camp in Torit as well as Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC) services in Awerial and Cueibet counties of Lakes State.