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The ongoing conflict in South Sudan has seen more than 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees flee their country and take refuge in Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and DR Congo, making South Sudan one of the largest refugee-producing countries in Africa. Despite this, the country also hosts more than 300,000 refugees from neighbouring Sudan.
As of 2020, it is estimated that 7.5 million people in South Sudan are in need of humanitarian assistance or protection, with 54% of the population being severely food insecure and 1.7 million people at risk of famine without continued humanitarian assistance.
The current conflict began in 2013, and while there has been a decrease in armed conflict since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) at the end of 2018, inter-communal violence remains a serious problem. In 2019, 259,000 new internal displacements were associated with conflict and violence.
The signing of the R-ARCSS prompted a number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to return to their areas of origin in South Sudan, with an estimated 1 million people having returned from displacement since November 2017. Returnees face significant challenges, however, including access to housing, land and property (HLP), as most of the houses have been destroyed during the 7-year conflict and returnees may lack the necessary documentation to prove their ownership.
Thus, while returns can be viewed as a positive sign of stabilisation in the country, premature returns could spark further inter-communal tension, disrupting the still-fragile peace and leading to further displacement.
Natural disasters are another source of concern in South Sudan, and major floods affected close to 1 million people, including IDPs and host communities, during the second half of 2019. Approximately 74,000 hectares of cultivated land were damaged, grazing pastures were flooded, and thousands of heads of cattle wiped out, threatening the livelihoods of those who depend on them for survival.
DRC South Sudan’s response focuses on meeting displacement affected persons’ most urgent needs through the provision of basic services, with key areas of focus including protection services, provision of shelter and non-food items, food security, and camp coordination/management. DRC’s Mobile Response Teams (MRT) provide lifesaving, multi-sectorial protection, including Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCMCM), and Shelter/Non-Food Item (SNFI) responses in hard-to-reach areas across the country.
Danish Demining Group’s operations in South Sudan are focused on humanitarian mine action, mine risk education, and armed violence reduction programming.