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Post Relocation Evaluation: Key Findings & Life in the New POC - Malakal, Protection of Civilians Site, Upper Nile State, South Sudan, October 2014

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Malakal in Upper Nile State, South Sudan is situated in a strategic location within the current conflict and has experienced many of the worst effects of the ongoing civil war. As of September 2014 over 18,300 persons are seeking protection inside the UNMISS Protection of Civilians (POC) site.
Urged on by flooding, overcrowding and generally inhumane living conditions inside the POC, actions were undertaken to relocate approximately 12,000 internally displaced persons from their original location inside the UNMISS base to a planned extension.

The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the relocation exercise in the Malakal Protection of Civilians site led by the Danish Refugee Council as the camp management agency. Findings are shared both, in the spirit of transparency as an evaluation of DRC’s work as well as to share key findings which may inform future relocation exercises in Malakal as well as other camps managed by DRC and other camp management agencies.

Household (individual) interviews were conducted with a sample size sufficient to achieve a 99% confidence level with a 10% margin of error. These were followed by focus group discussions with special interest groups (women’s committee, elderly and disabled).

The primary objectives of the relocation were to alleviate suffering caused by flooding and overcrowding. On both points significant improvements have been observed. Although 50% still experience some degree of flooding in the new POC, 82% have reported that conditions with regards to flooding are better. Additionally 88% of people report that space in the new POC is better and 75% have 1-3 meters of space between their shelter and the nearest neighbor. The process was broadly perceived as fair (95%) and well organized (93%) with adequate access to good information during the relocation process (80%).

Two issues which remain priorities for IDPs and have yet to be adequately addressed.
They are (1) objections to, and interpersonal conflict arising from compulsory tent sharing and (2) the outbreak of criminality and theft, especially at night perpetrated largely by young men in the new POC. Criminality, idleness and tension with youth is a complicated and nuanced issue requiring a deeper understanding than this evaluation can provide as it is arguably tangential to the subject matter addressed here. However the issue of compulsory tent sharing is addressed at length both in this report.

Overall it can be said that the relocation was a success and the energy and resources allocated to the exercise by DRC and other NGOs and UN agencies were energy and resources well spent.