Caritas Malakal Reaches Out to IDPs Fleeing from Violence in Unity State, South Sudan

Officials of Caritas Malakal. Credit: Caritas Malakal

The department of Integral Human Development of South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Malakal  (Caritas Malakal) is reaching out to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) fleeing from violence in Unity State with non-food items.

On September 7, fighting broke out near Adidiang, where thousands of displaced people had taken refuge, APnews reported. Meanwhile, fighting in and around the Upper Nile State town of Tonga has reportedly displaced thousands of people since mid-August.

In a September 15 interview with ACI Africa, the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Program officer with Caritas Malakal, Zakaria Wahn, said that personnel of the department of Integral Human Development of the South Sudanese Diocese have “assisted the IDPs with shelter NFIs, which included plastic kits, blankets, mosquito nets, solar touch, and ropes for tying down the shelter,”

Mr. Wahn added, “As Diocese of Malakal, we have no partners on the ground working with us but we have our donors supporting us from Juba.” 

“When this incident happened, most of the people ran away and left everything like food items, clothes, and other basic items in that location,” he further said, and explained, “Most of them have no sandals, clothes, and they only have the clothes they are wearing and no food with them.”


He continued, “What we've distributed is insufficient for them, but what we have on hand is what we've given them because what we had was insufficient for everyone.”

“We only gave the items to vulnerable households; most people require assistance because they lack even basic tools,” Mr. Wahn told ACI Africa during the September 15 interview.

The official of Caritas Malakal said that the IDPs they are reaching out to “can't rely on the food they're getting because it won't last a week at their house.”

"As Caritas, we plan to distribute food items to these people because we have some, but not enough for everyone who has come,” he said.

Mr. Wahn appealed for more support for Caritas Malakal initiative in reaching out to IDPs.

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He said, “There is a need to support these people because the gap is very big. The IDPs residing in Malakal are lacking many things and they need support because the shelter being provided is not enough while it’s raining.”

Asked about the violent in Unity State, the WASH program officer called upon the parties in conflict to engage in dialogue for peace.

He said, “Let our leaders come together to talk and leave this fighting to allow the civilians to be in their location because they are innocent not knowing what is happening.”

“There is a need for peace because it can give us a way to work, and people can move freely because currently with this crisis someone cannot be able to go to the field, and they come to stay in the PoC where they cannot go out and walk,” Mr. Wahn added in reference to the site in Malakal that was established following the civil war in the world’s youngest nation that started on 15 December 2013. 

“There should be peace for these vulnerable people because without peace there will be no development,” the official of Caritas Malakal told ACI Africa, and appealed to the people of God in South Sudan, “Let us encourage peace and leave hatred and tribalism that are happening.”


On September 8, the Coordinator of Caritas Malakal told ACI Africa that humanitarian needs in South Sudan’s Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei States are overwhelming due to violent conflicts and general “unrest”.

Sr. Elena Balatti explained, “The Humanitarian needs are overwhelming because there has been a lot of unrest this year in Unity and Upper Nile States and Northern part of Jonglei State.” 

“We have had an influx of people who fled the violence from the Adidiang camps when the IDP camp was attacked by the militia elements who killed people but we don’t know how many,” the member of the Comboni Missionary Sisters (CMS) added.