Assessments have been carried in Pibor, Likuangole, Boma and Walgak, according to Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who said on Jan. 6 in Geneva that more evaluations would be carried out in Fertait and Bilait.

UN agencies and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported significant humanitarian needs in all areas assessed and they believe that a similar situation prevails in areas yet to be visited, according to Byrs. Around 50,000 people are thought to be in need of help.

Last weekend a column of about 6,000 armed youths from the Luo Nuer tribe attacked the town of Pibor, where there is a concentrated Murle population, as part of ongoing clashes between the two communities related mainly to cattle rustling and grazing land. Most residents had fled the town before the attack, seeking refuge in the bush.

**Situation Calm**

Byrs added that while the situation was currently calm, the influx of people returning to Pibor continued and the number of those registered stood at 942 households or 4,710 individuals by yesterday (Jan. 5).

In Boma in the south-eastern part of Pibor County, some 1,700 people had been registered as displaced as of yesterday. Monitoring for further outbreaks of violence would continue, she added.

“Right now our primary aim… is to try and identify where the approximately 60,000 people who have fled from their homes are,” said Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, in an interview with UN Radio. She said UNMISS is continuing to carry our air reconnaissance in an effort to find those who fled their villages.

“In the case of many of the cities where people evacuated from, we are seeing relatively large return movement… but there a number of villages that were burned completely to the ground, for example, Likuangole and in that case people are not coming back and that’s because there is nothing to come back to,” said Grande.

**Disaster Zone**

She said that the South Sudanese Government yesterday (Jan. 5) declared Jonglei a disaster zone and appealed to humanitarian agencies to step up assistance.

“All of these areas, with the exception of Boma, can only be reached by air. So in logistical terms we have to face the fact this is going to be a very complicated operation,” she added.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) voiced concern that food shortages could reach crisis levels.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said one of five children wounded during the violence had died during medical evacuation, according to the agency’s spokesperson Marixie Mercado, who added that reports of nine children being abducted had been verified. Some 45 unaccompanied minors had been registered.


Source: []( | 2012 Human Wrongs Watch](