Posted by: africanpressorganization | 9 March 2010

Sudan / Two Million Internally Displaced Persons Have Returned to Southern Sudan Since 2005




Sudan / Two Million Internally Displaced Persons Have Returned to Southern Sudan Since 2005



KARTHOUM, Sudan, March 9, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Press Briefing Notes

The latest IOM and Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) Tracking Report shows that an estimated two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have returned to their places of origin in Southern Sudan since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005.

The report, compiled by IOM with the support of the SSRRC of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS), and in cooperation with the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), UNOCHA and partner NGOs, is based on data collected by more than 500 SSRRC enumerators who have interviewed 1,256,859 individuals during their return journey or in areas of returns.

The IOM/SSRRC report began keeping tracks of the number of returns in 2006.  The highest period of return was 2006 with more than 744,000 IDPs returning to Southern Sudan, followed by 2007, when more than 732,000 made the journey home.  The pace of returns dropped in 2008, with 362,000 returning in that year; returns in 2009 are estimated at around 161,000.

According to Gerard Waite, Head of the IOM Office in Southern Sudan, “It would be a mistake to think of returns as yesterday’s news, there was a significant upswing in numbers of returns towards the end of 2009, and with the elections and referendum approaching, far greater numbers could return in 2010 than in 2009.”

The report reveals that 60 per cent of returning families are headed by single women and 60 per cent of all returnees are minors aged below 18.  Only 8 per cent of returnees are aged 60 or more.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Southern Kordofan states have received the largest numbers of overall returnees with 22 per cent or 450,000 persons and 14 per cent or 275,000 persons, respectively. Western Bahr el Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria states received the lowest number of returnees with 60,000 returnees (3%) and 55,600 returnees (3%) respectively.  

The actual numbers of returns confirm the trends outlined in the Intention Surveys on Returns carried out by IOM in 2005 and 2006 in the Greater Khartoum Area, and in other locations in North Sudan with large numbers of IDPs.

According to the report, 75% of the returnees used buses or trucks to reach their final destination, 15% walked home, 6% travelled by boat and 3% by air; 3% did not provide transport-related information.

“Tracking spontaneous returns, particularly at the village level, provides important information on the reintegration needs of vulnerable persons, such as single female headed households,” says Waite.  “It also provides a system to alert our humanitarian partners on areas that are severely affected by high levels of returns, and it also represents an important tool for planning medium to long-term recovery in Southern Sudan.”

The March 2005 report of the Sudan Joint Assessment Mission estimated that some four million persons had been displaced from or within Southern Sudan by 20 years of fighting between the northern and southern regions of Sudan

This report is funded by the United Nations Common Humanitarian Fund, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Government of Norway, The UN’s World Food Programme and the Government of Japan.  

The report is available online at:


International Office of Migration (IOM)


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