UNITED NATIONS أألمم المتحدة
United Nations Mission in Sudan
MONTHLY ACTIVITY REPORT
Section: Return, Reintegration, Recovery
Unit: Reports Date: 08 October 2008 Period: 1 September-04 October 2008
Key activities carried out in reporting period:
Before ADRA suspended its tracking operations in Kosti due to a lack of funding from IOM, the team
reported as of 1 September that no returnees were waiting at the wharf for river transport south.
Scattered spontaneous returns were reported thought the month from UNMIS/RRR teams in the field,
particularly in Central Equatoria, Lakes, Southern Kordofan and Upper Nile, while seasonal flooding
continued to create new displacement in some parts of the country. Although the number of organized
return convoys from neighbouring countries remained in decline, this month UNHCR reported that 290
refugees did return under the assisted self-repatriation mechanism. This brought the cumulative total for
organized and assisted refugee repatriation to 137,631 by the end of September 2008, of who 60,676 had
arrived this year. Figures for organized IDP returns have risen slightly to a level of 28,249 persons so far
in 2008 and 81,036 cumulatively. Overall, including the 250,000 spontaneous returnees in this year alone
it is estimated that more than 2.37-million Sudanese have returned home by the end of September 2008.
Joint Plan for Returns
On 12 September, 24 IDPs from Juba, Central Equatoria State, were assisted in returning to Maridi,
Western Equatoria, under the Joint Plan in an exceptional rainy season movement. Another 73 IDPs
were similarly transported from Juba to Yambio. Also under the IOM Return of Qualified Sudanese
Programme designed to attract skilled professionals home, ten individuals returned from Khartoum to
their final destination in Juba.
At the beginning of the month the lack of a tracking mechanism at the airport in Juba, Central Equatoria
State, was discovered not to present an obstacle to monitoring when ADRA was pleased to note that in
total 205 families arriving by air had presented themselves riverside to register for reintegration
assistance along with those who come by barge. Later in the month, ADRA verified another 342 families
(2,271) of spontaneous returnees in Central Equatoria most of which had returned by barge. IOM/SSRC
registered a total of 2,291 spontaneous returns in Unity state which had arrived in the month of August.
Also, in Upper Nile ADRA recorded 31 individuals at Malakal port. All returnees were provided with
WFP three month assistance package.
In Juba, Eastern Equatoria State, in the last week of September, UNMIS/RRR identified 150 spontaneous
returnees from Torit and Wau some of them stranded at the port since June. Their 3-months food
assistance has been exhausted. IOM and SSRRC have been contacted for transport assistance.
UNHCR repatriated 45 refugees of which 42 from Uganda under the assisted self-repatriation
Between 1 January and the end of September 2008, the total number of refugees returned through
organized return supported by UNHCR reached 60,676, of whom 59,114 persons (97%) arrived in
organized movements and 1,562 (3%) under the assisted self-repatriation scheme.
As of the close of the period, repatriation of Sudanese refugees to southern Sudan and Blue Nile had
reached a cumulative total of 294,461, of which 137,631 returned under the organized and assisted self-
State-Level Co-ordination and Policy Dialogue
In Khartoum, at a meeting with IOM, UNHCR, WFP and UNMIS/RRR, HAC announced its plan to
conduct a new intention survey in southern Sudanese IDP settlements across the state. This would
determine the magnitude of remaining returns, as well as the needs for local integration and help further
planning. A technical team was organized to consider modification of a questionnaire used in a previous
survey, development of a sampling methodology and training of enumerators are to be conducted to
enable this exercise set to commence in early November. HAC requested the technical assistance in
information management from UNMIS/RRR and additional technical support from IOM. The funding of
the project is still under consideration. Following compilation and analysis of the data, HAC would seek
the convening of the Humanitarian Policy Committee to discuss various planning issues.
Also in Khartoum, SRRC informed UNMIS/RRR of the possible availability of US$15 million in GoSS
funding for the upcoming IDP return season. Further discussions will explore the possibility of applying
these funds to the Joint Plan rather than apportionment among state governments as in the previous two
As preparations advanced for a planning workshop to discuss returns during the next dry season,
UNMIS/RRR in South Darfur met with community leaders on 4 September to receive a request to
increase the target for any future return operations in view of the steady deterioration in livelihood
opportunities for IDPs both inside and outside camps in the state.
On 3 September, UNMIS/RRR met with the new civil administrator for Abyei, along with RCSO and
UNMIS Human Rights. The newly appointed administrator, representing the SPLM, expressed
appreciation for UN efforts in the area and confirmed that he would be selecting a cabinet by mid-
September. Good relations with the deputy administrator, representing NCP, were also acknowledged.
NCP and SPLM have finalized the list of the civil administration appointments and are waiting for the
endorsement by Khartoum and Juba. PADCO/ECO has done a preliminary assessment for a contract to
construct accommodations and offices for the Abyei Area Administration. Later in the month at a
gathering requested by HAC on 14 September, HERR invited UNMIS/RRR and other agencies to
examine returns to the Abyei area, where a return plan is being developed for the eventual concurrence of
the new civil administration. A central element of the proposal consists of the establishment of an Abyei
Area Return Commission to guide the process, with HAC -SSRRC playing the role of its secretariat.
With participation of both governmental and agency representatives, the gradual transition of ownership
to local authorities would be encouraged. As of mid-September, UNMIS/RRR in Abyei estimated that no
more than 5,000 persons were living in the town. Reports and, where possible, assessments suggest up to
9,000 in surrounding villages, half of whom had remained in the area during the clashes. Little increase
in returns has been detected since the end of August, most likely in response to the high visibility of
UNMAO activities and the low profile of the new civil administration in the town.
In Blue Nile, daily meetings have been held to monitor the food crisis in Kurmuk following reports from
Kurmuk Commissioner and UNCHR that 48 and 21 children (aged 1-6) have died in Gindi and Borfa
villages respectively, between August and September due to malnutrition, diarhea and malaria. The host
communities who accommodated returnees from 2006 and 2007 return seasons, are suffering from a
shortage of food since flooding washed away their crops. A similar situation is developing in Yabous,
Belatouma and near Chali. An inter-agency mission is being prepared to asses the situation and allow for
Leaders from the southern Sudanese community in Southern Darfur met with UNMIS/RRR on 14
September to voice the desire of many of their compatriots to return home. Poor sanitary and hygienic
conditions in the camps, combined with a deteriorating security situation overall, have created a hostile
environment for the IDPs, in particular for the most vulnerable. Repeated reports of gender-based
violence have been met with inaction by the authorities.
In Western Equatoria, a series of coordination meetings were organized to discuss assistance to
Congolese refugees entering Sudan via Gangura Payam following LRA attacks in Sakure on 18
September and in Duru, Bayote and Kiriwa villages in DRC Congo on 20 September. An estimated 500
Congolese refugees were reported in Gangura and more than 100 in Nabiapai at the beginning of the
month. The presence of these Congolese refugees is creating a humanitarian crisis (food, water,
sanitation) as from January to-date, more than 600 Sudanese spontaneous returnees had also arrived in
the Payam and are in a precarious situation themselves. In later developments the number of Congolese
refugees rapidly increased to 5,000, with rumours of 15,000-17,000 people being on the their way to the
border. The Government is looking in to relocation of the refugees to more easily accessible Li Rangu
area while UNHCR and WFP are working on diverting food stocks to assist the refugees.
In Western Bahr el Ghazal, the Ministries of Social Development and of Lands and Physical
Infrastructure, together with the Returnees Committee, and the County authorities are in the process of
allocating land plots as part of the Navasha Resettlement Project. The 3,000 available plots will be
allocated by lottery, with the monitoring of the international community.
On 23 September in Lake State, UNMIS/RRR, NGOs, UN Agencies and Lakes State Government
Ministries participated in a meeting chaired jointly by WFP and SSRRC to plan the Annual Needs,
Livelihood and Nutrition Anthropometric Assessment. Unlike previous years this assessment is to cover
multi-sectorial issues beyond food and livelihood i.e. health, water, sanitation, education, nutrition etc.
The assessment mission in Lakes State is expected to commence on 29 September and end on 15
October. Similar assessments will be carried out in all ten Southern Sudan States. As the assessment
result is expected to give a clear picture of the gaps and general welfare situation in the State, the inter-
agency reintegration and early recovery assessment previously planned by RRWG may be put on hold.
Throughout September, UNMIS/RRR continued follow-up meetings on data collection for the camp-
profile exercise in the Khartoum located IDP camps at Mayo, Jebel Awlia, Omdurman el Salam and
Wad el Bashir. Pending the input on elderly population in the camp, OES profile is close to conclusion.
Collection of data in WEB continues as planned while a visit to Suba camp on 23 September was
postponed due to the heavy rains. During a preparatory visit to Yousif area, UNMIS/RRR met with the
representatives of the 6 popular committees which will be covered separately, with the possibility of
additional rounds of meetings to cover any potential information gaps as was the practice during the
previous visits to other camps. Preliminary results pointed to an urgent need for interventions in the area
of basic services for the IDPs currently residing in these camps.
In Unity on 1 September, UNMIS/RRR participated in an inter-agency mission to Abiemnom to assess
the flood-affected areas and make recommendations on humanitarian assistance required. According to
local authorities, approximately 2,119 households were affected by the flooding, in response to which the
county dispatched nine tonnes of sorghum. The assessment team recommended the provision of shelter
material, mosquito nets, a food-for-recovery programme to construct proper drainage and medical
supplies to cover community needs. An assessment of livestock diseases will be conducted by the state
In South Darfur on 2 September, OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM, FAO and UNLJC conducted an
assessment in Kalma camp for the first time since the incident on 25 August. The delegation reassured
sheikhs that humanitarian operations and weekly meetings with them would continue.
In Upper Nile, at the beginning of September, 400 households were reported displaced by floods in
Mabaan County resulting from the overflow of highland streams across the border in Ethiopia. As result,
SSRRC in Mabaan, together with MedAir, UNHCR, CAFOD and SIM, conducted an assessment on 1-2
September in Bunj, Bankuman and Green villages in the county. Preliminary assessment indicated 2,800
affected individuals in 311 households. The team recommended the following measures: drainage
improvement; distribution of mosquito nets; provisions of plastic sheeting; monitoring of equipment to
ensure continuous safe water supply; intensification of hygiene promotion activities; and monitoring of
public health for early identification of any disease outbreak.
On 4 September in Lakes State, UNMIS/RRR joined Civil Affairs, UNMO and UN/Force Protection in
an aerial patrol to Shambe as part of the regular monitoring and assessment of trends and volume in
spontaneous returnees through that corridor to the eastern region of the state. During this visit, the payam
administrator and SSRRC staff informed UNMIS/RRR that all thirty returnees who had arrived on 12
August had left for their final destinations in Adior, Nyang, Pagarau, Malek and Yirol town. Another
group of 25 returnee households, reportedly arrived on 20 August, had also managed to disperse
successfully to their final locations within greater Yirol. Although security situation within and around
Shambe, is reported to be calm and peaceful vehicles travelling from Yirol to Shambe were
recommended to use armed escorts in the wake of a murder incident on 20 August. The population in
Shambe was found to be very much reduced, reportedly as a result of a high incidence of water-borne
and related diseases during the rainy season, compounded by the total lack of access to basic services
such as potable water, sanitation and health.
In Abyei, prospects of an eventual larger-scale return to the town increased with the visit of the newly
appointed civil administrator, who gave indications that the entity might be functional by mid-month. An
intention survey conducted among the displaced in Northern Bahr el Ghazal revealed, however, that only
one percent expressed any desire to return soon, while sixty-nine percent have no intention of returning at
this juncture while in Warrab a total of 18,000 IDPs registered in Turalei may ultimately return to the
Abyei area. Both groups are awaiting full deployment of the joint integrated police units and actual
functioning of civil administration structures. Also, Returnee registration by HAC-SRRC and
UNMIS/RRR has begun in Abyei mid-September, with tracking of information related to child
protection incorporated into the tracking data at the request of UNICEF. Based on the number of
dwellings counted and average family size, approximately 4,000 individuals are estimated to have
returned to the town of Abyei with perhaps another 10,000 in surrounding villages. The largest group of
displaced people remains around Agok where HAC-SRRC noted an increasing desire among displaced to
return to Abyei. Significant return to Abyei is not anticipated before the end of the school year. A draft
proposal for the establishment of an Abyei Area Return Commission to guide the process will be shared
with the new entity to ensure its full concurrence and ownership. In Western Bahr el Ghazal, meanwhile,
WFP informed UNMIS/RRR that well over 1,100 displaced individuals had been verified in Wau town
alone. Significant efforts by various UN agencies and NGOs to assist the 12,000 estimated displaced
UNMIS/RRR in Abyei and SSRRC, accompanied by the INGO Norwegian People Aid (NPA), travelled
to the villages of Todaj and Dokra to the north of Abyei on 3 September. Although the NGOs Islamic
Relief and Panacare have been providing NFIs and food assistance in Abyei-town, NPA would be the
first organization to do so in surrounding villages. A JIU camp and roughly fifty returnees were found in
Todaj, where the community cited no security concerns. In further developments on 19 September,
UNMIS/RRR accompanied HAC-SRRC and NPA to Lou village (35km East of Abyei) where NFIs were
distributed to 205 households. Distribution of NFIs in villages around Abyei (Miakol, Galar, Miabek,
Bioknom) where cultivation was disrupted by the conflict was continued thought the month.
On 2 September, the IDP mapping task force team comprised of UNMIS/RRR, IRW, IOM and SSRRC
visited the IDP settlements in Ganji and Bungo, located within Juba town, Central Equatoria State.
The aim of the visits was to map IDP settlements located in town and assess willingness to return. In a
related effort UNMIS/RRR visited the port in Juba on 3 September to monitor the movement of
spontaneous returnees from Khartoum. It was found that about 51 individuals were stranded there, most
of whom were destined for Eastern Equatoria, while two of the households were headed for Western
Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal. The returnees reported that they had not received any food and
that many of the children among them were in need of health assistance. As a follow up on the issue
UNMIS/RRR visited IOM and UNHCR on 5 September proposing that UNHCR offer accommodation at
the way station and that IOM provide assistance with transport to final destinations.
The second part of the verification exercise for spontaneous returnees was completed mid September. In
collaboration with IOM, FAO, WFP, Islamic Relief and SSRRC, UNMIS/RRR had planned an inter-
agency verification mission to Lainya County, Central Equatoria State whose objective was to verify a
figure of 9,658 spontaneous returnees registered by SSRRC and IOM under the tracking and monitoring
programme. Following the verification exercise, on 22 September, UNMIS/RRR called for a meeting of
the verification team to discuss intervention in Lainya County for provision of social services.
UNMIS/RRR in Northern Bahr el Ghazal conducted reintegration monitoring surveys in collaboration
with SSRRC and local authorities in Ariath Payam in Aweil North County and in Wedweil Payam in
Aweil West County. The exercise was initiated to respond to a lack of inadequate information about
reintegration activities and to gather data on social, political and economic reintegration issues in
communities of high return, recommendations to improve the delivery of reintegration assistance were
expected as a result. According to this survey, seventy percent of returnees stated that their lives were
better now at home than when they were in displacement in the north, despite many challenges.
Respondents cited freedom, availability of land for agriculture and kinship relationships as positive
aspects. Many expressed concerns about medical consultation fees at the PHCU, as well as the need to
purchase medications on the market. Most vulnerable households could hardly afford even such nominal
fees, not to mention the cost of medication. In terms of economic development, respondents
acknowledged that the host community tended to be envious of returnees who possessed greater skills.
In the second part of reintegration monitoring survey that took place later in the month, UNMIS/RRR in
Northern Bahr el Ghazal interviewed returnees in Aweil West and East counties to understand the
reintegration challenges faced in the area. The respondents highlighted some of their challenges: (1) A
substantial number of returnees do not return to their community of origin as upon arrival at many of the
reception communities, they find that hosts are very welcoming. They feel encouraged to stay. Also
some communities of origin are not suitable for cultivation or construction or/and are insecure thus
returnees prefer reception sites, especially female headed household who have no manpower; (2) Land
allocated by local authorities and community leaders at reception sites are usually small as host
community fears that the land will be exhausted; (3) Most returnees who left their livestock with relatives
have not been able to recover them making the reintegration virtually impossible; (4) Returnees, who
came in the middle of agricultural season, particularly spontaneous and government organized returns,
are more vulnerable as they were late for cultivation and the three months ration is quickly exhausted;
and (5) Inadequate community basic services, particularly water, health and education, make many
returnees prolong their stay longer at the reception sites.
In Upper Nile UNMIS/RRR team visited Melut mid-September and its surrounding areas to conduct
post-return monitoring, particularly for those who returned during first half of the year 2008. The
returnees arrived mainly from White Nile, Sennar, Umjer, Kenana, Kosti, Rabak and the camps around
Khartoum. The team managed to visit a few returnees who arrived in March as part of returns organized
by state or county governments. Upon arrival in Melut, county authorities welcomed and received the
returnees, who were temporarily accommodated in one of the primary schools in town. Each returning
family in these state-organized returns initially received a sack of sorghum. County authorities
subsequently allocated plots of land to families interested in settling in Melut town. Nevertheless,
returnees are facing some difficulties in terms of finding livelihood opportunities.
During the third week of September UNMIS/RRR in Northern Bahr el Ghazal participated in inter-
agency verification of spontaneous returnees at Ariath Payam in Aweil North and in Aweil town. A total
67 households (about 335 individuals) and 56 households (about 348 individuals) were verified at the
two locations, respectively. In Aweil East County, 359 households (1,998 individuals) were verified and
served while in verification exercise for flood-affected households in Mabok Tong in Aweil East, 1,158
households were verified and issued cards.
In Central Equatoria, UNMIS/RRR joined with IOM and SSRRC on 11-12 September to survey the
intentions of IDPs in several camps in Juba who expressed continued reservations over the possible
renewal of LRA attacks that threaten lives and property, with a special fear of child abduction.
Availability of basic services in areas of return was also a great source of concern to this increasingly
In South Darfur, on 18 September, UNMIS/RRR visited the southern Sudanese IDPs living outside
camps in the Hay Jeer and Hay Malja areas near Nyala. Poor living conditions were observed, with no
social services or humanitarian assistance. Current heavy rains are exacerbating the situation, with
women and children showing signs of malnutrition. IDP representatives requested RRR to help in
mobilizing humanitarian assistance and were directed toward UNAMID/HLRD and OCHA.
In Upper Nile State a team of UNHCR, UNMIS UNMIS/RRR and WFP undertook a mission to Fanjak
County on 19 September to verify the reported figures of 202 households (2,800 individuals) of
spontaneous returnees. The team met the County’s Executive Director and SSRRC officials who
confirmed that spontaneous returnees came to Fanjak County but have scattered all over the area without
reporting to the concerned officials in Fanjak County Headquarters. The few returnees interviewed
confirmed that most people have gone to the surrounding villages in search of their relatives and
cultivation. However due to the floods, cultivation has not been successful this year. SSRRC secretary
has been tasked to inform those returnees who have not been assisted about their entitlements while the
Executive Director is to acquire data and update the team on the latest figure of the returnees who have
not received assistance in the county.
On 23 September in Southern Kordofan, UNMIS/RRR, UNMIS/PIO and Ruya Association for
Development conducted a field visit to Kholiat and Damba villages to monitor the reintegration of
returnees into the host communities and to document agricultural activities supported by the local
Government, FAO and NGOs. The majority of returnees and host communities in the visited hamlets
have expressed satisfaction that they have been able to cultivate land and thus support themselves.
However, the chief of Kholiat village reported that poor services and unresolved disputes over land
ownership with the neighbouring village (Koya) have compelled a few returnee families to return to the
On 10 September in Western Equatoria, an inter-agency (UNMIS/RRR, HERR, SSRRC, UNICEF and
WVI) assessment of the condition of LRA victims in Nzara County was conducted. These IDPs
remained determined not to return until a political settlement might be reached between the LRA and the
governments in Uganda and the DRC. Local resettlement was cited as the most likely sustainable
On 29 September in Western Equatoria, UNMIS/RRR completed the second phase of Joint Verification
Mission aimed at verification of Tracked Priority Counties (Yambio, Tambura, Maridi and Mundri West
Counties) including the Mvolo County which has no tracking system in place but was covered as a pilot
project to further conduct state wide Spontaneous Returnees Verification. The Team conducted
simultaneous verifications in the two Counties from 22-28 September, verifying a total of 2,367
individuals (373 households) in Mundri West County and a total of 1,051 individuals (197 households) in
Mvolo County. Together with Maridi returnees verified earlier, the total figures for this Second Joint
Verification have reached 4,486 individuals (826 households). WFP distributed Family Tokens upon
verification and food distributions will follow within next months. The International and Local NGOs on
the ground which supported the Joint Verification (StC US and SIDF in Mvolo; Malteser and AAH-I in
Maridi; and MRDA and SEM in Mundri West) will finalize verification of outstanding households and
submit the forms to WFP through UNMIS/RRR by October 15. Advanced rainy season affected the
accessibility of targeted population to verification spots while security in areas of verification was
generally good. As a follow up to the assessment mission, on 2 October UNMIS/RRR and the SSRRC
State conducted de-briefing discussing main challenges encountered and specific gaps concerning the
tracking system and information provided to the Returnees by the SSRRC at County level. The SSRRC
stressed the importance of extending the Verification to the five unverified Counties (Nagero; Ezo;
Nzara; Ibba; and Mundri West) and proposed eventual refreshment of IOM Tracking training for
enumerators working on the field.
Challenges facing SSRRC enumerators have been reported in Unity, Warrab and Western Bahr el
Ghazal due to road conditions and procedures. In Unity UNMIS/RRR and IOM will regroup payams,
bomas and village chiefs to brief on tracking of spontaneous returnees. In Warrab state the constrains in
movement and information flow persist despite IOM’s logistical support (Thuraya phones and a
motorbike). In Western Bahr el Ghazal, UNMIS/RRR, IOM, WFP, and SSRRC are reviewing the
process of tracking and monitoring of returnees, and of the structure and activities of the Reception
On 1 and 2 October in Unity State, UNMIS/RRR, IOM, WFP and SSRRC conducted a joint verification
exercise to determine the exact number of spontaneous returnees for the months of August. Upon receipt
of the tracking sheets from SSRRC’s spontaneous tracking enumerators from seven out of the nine
counties of Unity State, the return partners met and agreed to conduct verification in the three counties of
Rubkona, Mayendit and Pariang (Ruweng). The joint verification exercise is still on going and the actual
figure will be released once verification exercise is complete.
In preparation for the upcoming planning exercise for 2009, team leaders from UNMIS/RRR field
locations around the country gathered in Khartoum for a workshop on 18 September to assess lessons
learned over the past year, as well as to discuss future directions for the section, which will focus
increasingly on early reintegration activities.
In South Kordofan, on 4-6 September, UNMIS/RRR was invited to attend the capacity-building
workshop for women organized in Kadugli by the NGO Ruya Association, PACT/Sudan and the
Southern Kordofan Women’s Forum for Peace and Development. This was a follow-up to a previous
workshop to focus on different ways for empowering women to play an important role in establishing
sustainable peace and stability in the state.
Sudan Information Campaign for Return (SICR)
In Khartoum, UNMIS/RRR facilitated and introduced the SICR Co-ordinator from UNICEF to
the camp-level Return Committees in Jebel Awlia on 2 September and in Mayo on 3 September.
The main purpose of the meetings was to discuss the possibility of contracting the CBOs to
implement SICR activities in the camps, such as information dissemination through focus-group
discussions, dialogues and radio-listening groups. The CBOs will be given small grant of
US$10,000 in a pilot programme until the end of the year. Extension of the contract will be
conditional on evaluation of achievements during the trial period.
Follow up monitoring of the situation of those who have returned
Follow up with agencies to identify any gaps in reintegration assistance
Planning of organized return and reintegration programming for the next season
Signature head of unit or designate: Marie-France Heliere
Signature head of agency/division or designate: