Families separated during Abyei conflict

5 Jun 2011

Families separated during Abyei conflict

5 June 2011 - Several internally displaced persons (IDPs) who recently arrived in Turalei, Warrap State, after fleeing conflict in Abyei were separated from family members as they left the disputed region.

One of the tens of thousands of IDPs now sheltering under trees in the area is 67-year-old Achie Gock, who said he lost two of his three wives and eight of his 15 children at the end of May as he headed for Twic County.

"I lost my wives and children while we fled Abyei and I (have not had) any information about their whereabouts since then," the traumatized father said. "We were in total shock (in this) vicious situation."

Ayak Deng was separated from her mother and only son when she fled Abyei, which was seized by the Sudan Armed Forces on 21 May, and she has so far heard nothing about their whereabouts.

"I was away from home to buy food stuff from Abyei market when the incident happened," the 20 year-old mother said with tears in her eyes. "I missed both my son and mother at home and I never heard about them since then."

Twic County Commissioner Dominic Deng described the IDP situation as dire, stressed that people continued to flock into Turalei and humanitarian assistance was needed.

According to the World Food Program (WFP), more than 46,000 IDPs currently in the Turalei area were depending on food from the agency on a daily basis.

Despite these and other humanitarian efforts, IDP needs remain high and could increase further as the rainy season progresses. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has emphasized that food, water, health, and shelter for IDPs were urgently required.

The sudden influx of people had also put a heavy strain on existing commodities and basic services, OCHA further disclosed, which was affecting IDPs and host communities alike.