Current Date:

Monday, 05 March 2018

Working with Communities to Inform Response in S. Darfur Return Village

(OCHA) - Following the return of nearly 1,500 Sudanese refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR)

to South Darfur’s Dafag village in El Radom locality late last year, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Recovery, Return, and Reintegration (RRR) sector, led by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the government’s Voluntary Return and Reintegration Commission (VRRC), organized an inter-agency assessment mission to the area. The objective of the mission was to consider livelihoods and community coping strategies as well as gaps in basic services, and mobilize multi-sector support for the sustainable reintegration of the returnees. The mission confirmed the need for enhancements to health, water, education, sanitation and hygiene services for both the returnee and host communities. In December 2017, returnees were provided with initial reintegration assistance by UNHCR, including non-food items, seeds and tools, and cash grants for shelter construction and livelihood start-up. UNHCR and the Commissioner of Refugees (COR) have also worked with the locality commissioner to establish land and security committees, and have further ensured land allocation to returnees.
In addition to the refugee returnees from CAR, there are also 500 IDP returnees from Al Salam and Otash IDP camps in Nyala. According to the VRRC, a further 3,000 IDPs from the two camps also want to return to Dafag. Improved security is the main reason refugees and IDPs have decided to return to the area in South Darfur.
The area has fertile land favourable for agriculture and livestock rearing. Approximately 90 per cent of the host community in Dafag own agricultural land with an average of between 10 to 25 feddans (approximately 4.2 to 10.5 hectares) per family. While initial seed and tool distribution has already been provided to refugee returnees, more diversified livelihood and coping strategies will be necessary in the long term to ensure sustainable reintegration.
Limited access to water, health, sanitation, and education facilities are key concerns in Dafag for both returnees and host communities, particularly with the increasing population. Initial assistance from the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) with chlorination tablets and water management training, has helped improve water quality.
However, increasing water supply is required. A mobile health clinic has also been established by the State Ministry of Health (SMoH), but reportedly lacks sufficient staffing and capacity. The mission recommended constructing a health clinic in the area. While sanitation facilities are largely lacking in Dafag, UNHCR constructed 20 communal latrines at a reception centre. UNHCR also provided cash assistance to the returnees to help them construct household latrines, as part of their shelters. Approximately 750 returnee children need access to schools and qualified teachers.