The Abyei Administrative Region remains a contested area between Sudan and South Sudan. 2019 was marked by an increased number of security incidents. Violent clashes in Kolom on 22 January 2020 left 33 people killed, 18 wounded, 15 children missing, and 19 houses burned according to the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA – see report here). This led to the displacement of approximately 4,665 individuals (747 households) from Kolom and surrounding areas (Noong, Dokura and Amiet Market) to Abyei Town. Among the missing 15 children, six were returned and reunited with their families.
Whilst half of all IDP households are gathered at specific locations within Abyei Town (Abyei women centre, Mulmul primary school, Abyei boys secondary school, Abyei girls secondary school, Nyinkuach primary school and house of Dumbek*), the other half remains scattered throughout the town staying amongst the host community. An unknown number of IDPs have left Abyei Town for Agok to seek shelter with relatives. Whilst most villages were deserted, some IDPs returned on visits.
In coordination with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), IOM DTM visited the spontaneous displacement sites to assess the numbers of IDPs and the most urgent needs regarding food, WASH, NFI, shelter and protection.
IOM South Sudan from its core pipeline provided Shelter and NFI kits. In addition, in collaboration with WASH cluster members in Abyei, IOM constructed emergency latrines at the Abyei boys secondary school and distributed WASH NFIs.
Partners reported concerns about unaccompanied children among the displaced who may be taken advantage of – especially given the already missing children. The absence of basic services such as sanitation facilities and adequate water further exposes IDPs to waterborne diseases.
The number of IDPs in Abyei Town is expected to increase as the fear of further attacks in surrounding villages remains.