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LIWOLO - 10 Jun 2019

Humanitarian situation in Liwolo County still dire: Commissioner

File photo: Liwolo county commissioner Jackson Wani Mule
File photo: Liwolo county commissioner Jackson Wani Mule

The humanitarian situation in Liwolo County of South Sudan’s Yei River State remains dire as many displaced families are returning home, a local official said.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Sunday, the county commissioner, Jackson Wani Mule said thousands of civilians, mostly women and the elderly, who voluntarily returned recently from several camps in Uganda are lacking food, water, medicines and non-food items.

“Since the signing of the [revitalized peace] agreement last year, many people have started coming to the area. During the dry season, most of their ‘tukuls’ [huts] got burnt and they are in urgent need for shelter. Here, you find that people from four different homes have combined to sleep in a single house and their conditions are not good at all,” said Mule.

He added, “Up to now, they [civilians] have not gotten any support from these NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations]”.

The official said nearly 100 boreholes have broken down making it difficult for the returning population to access clean drinking water.

The locals have been forced to share dirty streams and running rivers with domestic and wild animals, according to the commissioner.

“The conditions are not good. People are fetching water from streams shared with animals and it’s very dangerous for human beings,” he observed.

Mule further said the county with a huge population only has one health facility with insufficient medicines, adding that the qualified health workers are few in number.

“This year, I opened a health unit here, but it is not functioning on a daily basis. The facility is being visited by at least 30-40 patients and we are appealing to health partners to help us on the ground. Most of the people here are surviving on local herbs for treatment,” he explained.

He appealed to non-governmental organizations working in the health sector to supply medicines to the vulnerable population.

One of the areas badly affected by the country’s civil war, Yei River State has witnessed human rights violations and massive displacements since 2016.