Aweil Centre County, Northern Bahr el Gahzal
2016 population projection: 57,339
Major population centers: Bhar Mayen Payam (home to nearly half the County population)
Major ethnic group: Mix of Jur Chol and Dinka Malual peoples
There have been limited reports of internal displacement or influx of IDPs tied directly to the national conflict. However, aid groups estimate over 70,000 South Sudanese fled into Sudan in the first half of 2016, including from Warrap, and Northern and Western Bahr el Ghazal states. They are believed to be fleeing both food insecurity and conflict.
*National Bureau of Statistics, Population projections for South Sudan by County
Economy & livelihoods
According to a 2013 IOM assessment, 34 percent of residents engage in farming, 30 percent livestock rearing and 23 percent fishing for their livelihoods. The main crops are sorghum, groundnut, sesame, maize and vegetables (okra, potatoes, tomatoes etc).
In addition to fertile soils the County’s climate is also conducive to growing fruit including watermelons, pawpaw and mangos. Some households also reportedly grow tobacco. Aweil Centre is also rich in natural forestry resources including timber and bamboo, but little research has been conducted as to how best to harness them. Many residents reportedly lack necessary equipment, such as saws, to benefit from these potential revenue sources. On the other hand, exploitation of timber resources also presents environmental concerns.
Some residents reportedly engage in beekeeping, with funding from humanitarian groups. Cash crops are often sold in Aweil. Hunting and sale of bush meat is reportedly common in Aweil Centre. However wildlife conservation authorities have attempted to crack down on this practice by bringing perpetrators to court.
Northern Bahr el Ghazal State residents are the most market dependent nation-wide, with over 90 percent of households relying on markets as their main source of food supplies after harvest time, according to an April 2016 joint WFP/FAO report.
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
Aweil Centre County is classified as “Crisis” for this time period. According to the Annual Needs and Livelihood Analysis 2014-2015** report, its food security outlook had deteriorated over the reporting period. It had a deficit of 6,058 tons of cereal in 2015.
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA
Northern Bahr el Ghazal State has not been majorly affected by the national conflict, however there have been some defections and limited skirmishes between Government and Opposition forces – particularly as Opposition forces seek to cross the state in order to enter Sudan.
There have been reports of isolated clashes between Government and Opposition forces in Aweil Centre County. In July 2014 around 200 SPLA defectors moved through the County en route to Darfur after deserting from their posts in Western Bahr el Ghazal. They are believed to have looted civilian homes and facilities, including a medical clinic in Awada payam, for household items and food on July 10. An estimated 258 households from Leiyia, Nyikula, Warbum and Karkou villages were displaced to Aroyo payam as a result. One local official told media that government troops killed 29 of the rebels in a clash the week following the raid. In July 2015, there were media reports that an armed group affiliated with the SPLM/A-IO attacked the county headquarters at Aroyo village, looted shops and fired at the county commissioner’s house. Two police officers reportedly died in the clash. There have been no subsequent reports of violence.
There has been little evidence of significant displacement in the County overall. In May 2016, dozens of people are believed to have arrived in Aweil Centre, fleeing fighting in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal. Local authorities however said they did not know the exact number.
Geography & logistics
Abul, Achana, Aroyo, Bhar Mayen, Chel South, Nyalath
Savannah woodlands dominate the landscape, with some pockets of tropical forest. Common trees include acacia, mahogany, lulu and tamarind. The soil varies from loamy, clay and rocky soils, which are fertile and suitable for growing a range of crops including fruits (such as mango). The River Chel runs though the County. Aweil Centre is not prone to flooding.
Compared to the rest of the state, the road network in Aweil Centre is relatively underdeveloped. Secondary roads running north and east of county headquarters Aroyo village to connect to Aweil West’s Marial-Baai and Aweil towns, respectively, are accessible only by 4WD (<3.5 metric tons) and it is unknown whether they are passable in the rainy season.
All season fixed-wing airstrips
None. According to a 2013 Logistics Cluster map, there is an airfield south of Chak-chak village, however it was not marked as a current field.
Information last updated: 26/08/16
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