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Cablegate: Sudan - Status of Idp Returns to Southern Sudan

VZCZCXRO4490
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1366/01 2421352
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301352Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8346
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001366

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, DCHA/OFDA, AND AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, USAID/SFO AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NSC FOR PMARCHAM AND MMAGAN
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU

SUBJECT: SUDAN - STATUS OF IDP RETURNS TO SOUTHERN SUDAN

REF: Khartoum 1271

KHARTOUM 00001366 001.2 OF 002


1. Summary. In a recent meeting with USAID, the U.N. Mission in
Sudan (UNMIS) reported that 1.24 million former internally displaced
persons (IDPs) have returned to the Three Areas and Southern Sudan
since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in
January 2005. Based on IDP surveys, UNMIS estimates that 1.2
million of the 3.4 million IDPs who are still displaced will not
return home and prefer to stay in Khartoum or other areas with
economic opportunities, leaving approximately 2.2 million IDPs and
refugees in need of returns-related assistance in the coming years.
Returnees, humanitarian agencies, and Government of Southern Sudan
(GOSS) officials report that the lack of schools throughout Southern
Sudan is a primary challenge facing returnees and a major deterrent
to future returns. Returnees and government officials also cited
inadequate health care facilities as a key concern. Despite
strained resources, GOSS officials continue to welcome all
returnees, cognizant that the census is approaching. End summary.

-----------------
RETURNS BY REGION
-----------------

2. USAID partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
reports that Northern Bahr el Ghazal State has received the greatest
number of returnees in 2007, followed by Southern Kordofan State.
IOM has tracked more than 42,000 people returning to Northern Bahr
el Ghazal in 2007, including spontaneous returnees who traveled
without the assistance of the international community. Southern
Kordofan has received more than 20,000 returnees and Warrab State
has received more than 17,000 returnees.

3. When large-scale returns resume in November following the rainy
season, Jonglei State and southeastern Central Equatoria State are
poised to receive large numbers of returnees. Tens of thousands of
Dinka from Bor, Jonglei State, have been living for years in the
Nimule, Lobone, and Kajo Keji areas of southeastern Central
Equatoria. The continued presence of the Dinka is a source of
tension with the Acholi, the original residents of the area. Many
Acholi remain in refugee camps in Uganda and are awaiting the
departure of the Dinka. IOM is in the process of collecting data
regarding numbers of IDPs who intend to return, organized by
village. A complicating factor is the large number of Dinka cattle.
As has been done in previous Dinka returns, IOM is suggesting that
some Dinka walk the cattle from Central Equatoria to Jonglei with a
Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) escort. An additional
complicating factor is that some Dinka may refuse to leave, a
potential source of conflict in the already volatile area.

---------------------------------
SCHOOLS, HEALTH FACILITIES NEEDED
---------------------------------

4. In August, USAID staff visited Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Central
Equatoria states. While these states have not been the top
destinations for returnees to date, their issues are representative
of all areas of the south. In all three states, local officials and
returnees sent a clear message that the lack of educational
facilities in Southern Sudan is a deterrent to returns. The case of
Jonglei State is illustrative of the challenges facing Southern
Sudan. Only three secondary schools serve the state's population of
800,000, which is expected to top 1 million by the end of 2007.
While dozens of primary schools exist, many are in poor condition,
with classes held under trees. By contrast, in Khartoum and in
refugee camps in neighboring countries, displaced persons have
access to primary and secondary schools. A representative of the
Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) conceded
that access to education in places of displacement may act as a
deterrent to returns and that the organization has debated whether
to reduce camp educational services.

5. Although the number of health facilities is disputed -- the U.N.
World Health Organization estimates between 700 and 800, while GOSS
officials estimate more than 1,000 -- it is clear that the current
health infrastructure is insufficient. In Jonglei State, only two
hospitals are functioning. Even in areas where smaller health
centers or units exist, drug availability remains problematic. The
GOSS Ministry of Health (MOH) has not shipped drugs to the states
since May 2006. U.N. officials report that GOSS warehouses in Juba
are overflowing with drugs, but the GOSS lacks funding for

KHARTOUM 00001366 002.2 OF 002


transport. In response to this void, entrepreneurs are opening
"pharmacies" in town markets and importing drugs themselves, but
often these businessmen are not medically trained professionals.
Due to concerns over the spread of illness during the rainy season,
the U.N. plans to help the GOSS transport drugs to some areas, but a
longer-term procurement and delivery system is needed.

6. Government officials indicated that the lack of other basic
services should not be a deterrent for returns, stating that
communities would welcome back their kin with open arms and be
willing to share scarce food and supplies. All returnees
interviewed reported that they were glad to have returned home
despite the difficulties. "Home is home, even if it's bad," said
one returnee.

-----------------------------
USAID SUPPORT FOR IDP RETURNS
-----------------------------

7. In FY 2007, the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
(USAID/OFDA) is providing USD 3.5 million to IOM for IDP returns,
reintegration projects, and capacity building to improve the ability
of the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC)
to monitor spontaneous returns and plans to provide an additional
USD 1 million of support. USAID is particularly focused on the
movement of IDPs through two corridors. As reported reftel, to move
returnees from Khartoum to Equatoria, USAID/OFDA is encouraging the
use of road transport from Khartoum to Bentiu, then river transport
from Bentiu to Juba. USAID is also supporting the movement of as
many as 7,500 Dinka from the Lobone, Nimule, and Kajo Keji areas.
Through IOM, USAID has supported the establishment of a GOSS Joint
Operations Center in Juba to collect returns tracking information
from the states.

8. USAID/OFDA supports more than 260 health facilities in the south
and is working to transition these emergency activities to
longer-term development partners. USAID is also funding water,
sanitation, and hygiene services in areas of high return and
providing seeds and tools to returnees.
FERNANDEZ

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