Tonj North County, Warrap
2016 population projection: 226,301
Major population centers: Warrap; Marial-lou
Major ethnic group: Rek Dinka; ethnic group – Konggoor, Noi, Atok, Abiem, Abuok, Nyang, Leer, Awan-Parek, Lou-Ariik, Lou-Paher, Apuk-Padoch
Medium risk of food insecurity related displacement. Warrap State is not among the states most affected by the national conflict, nor does Tonj East County receive large numbers of displaced persons. The most recent OCHA humanitarian snapshot (Feb 2016) counts 1,924 IDPs in Warrap State and notes that the border of Tonj South, Tonj East and Tonj North is a conflict “hot spot,” causing local displacements.
A recent UNHCR report states that more than 50,000 South Sudanese refugees have fled to Sudan since late January 2016 from neighboring Northern Bahr al Ghazal State and Warrap States. The exact county of origin is unclear. Refugees are largely driven by ongoing conflict and severe food insecurity, the result of poor harvests, restricted trade, depreciating currency and steeply rising staple food prices.
*National Bureau of Statistics, Population projections for South Sudan by County
Economy & livelihoods
The majority of communities in Tonj North are agro pastoralist, engaged in cattle rearing (48 percent), subsistence farming (47 percent) (2009 IOM State report). Planting is conducted during the rainy season and the main crops are sorghum, simsim, millet, groundnut peas, okra and pumpkin. The economic use of the cattle herds is limited, as meat as well as production of dairy products is not common. Yet, culturally, cattle are highly valued and play an important role in the society as a sign of social status and wealth.
Pastoralists throughout Tonj West – as well as pastoralists from Tonj South County to Abyei in the north to Lakes and Unity States in the east – migrate during the dry season, in search of water in various parts of the northeastern and eastern Warrap State. Livelihoods can be disrupted by recurring resource and migration disputes and cattle raiding in conflict prone payams bordering Tonj East County (Kirrik, Rualbet, Marial Lou) and with Unity State (Akop and Alebek). In recent years, such conflict has caused displacement to Warrap town and Marial Lou, interrupted service provision and disrupted local market functions. In addition, seasonal floods periodically destroy local cultivation and flash floods can wash away entire villages.
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
In December 2015, IPC updated its projection for food security in Tonj North from “stressed” to “crisis.” The change reflects the effects of disrupted trade (due to localized insecurity) and reduced crop harvests after prolonged dry spells throughout the country.
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA/M
Tonj North’s primary conflict drivers include competition over limited water points and grazing land, cattle raiding, cycles of revenge killing, and border disputes. These are exacerbated by the proliferation of small arms in the region. The payams bordering Tonj East County (Kirrik, Rualbet, Marial Lou) and Unity State (Akop and Alebek) are the most conflict prone.
A new wave of violence sparked in October 2015 between communities in Tonj North and Tonj East County. In the same month, a special court was created in Tonj North to hear cases of violence between Apuk and Lou communities of Tonj North. The new Governor of the newly declared “Tonj State” (covering part of the area of Warrap State) declared that reconciling and uniting feuding communities in Tonj will be a top priority.
Geography & logistics
Marial Lou / Marialou, Rual Bet / Rualbet, Akop, Alabet / Aliebek, Aliek, Kirrik, Pagol, Manalor, Awul.
As the largest county in Warrap State, Tonj North stretches from Western Bahr el Ghazal State in west to Unity State to east (Mayom, Koch, Mayendit Counties). The landscape is characterized by flat grassland and tropical Savannah. The county includes high water table areas, where swamps and stagnant water make access difficult, particularly in the rainy season.
Warrap is connected to Wau (Western Bahr el Ghazal State) and Tonj (Tonj South County, Warrap State) via Thiet by a secondary road. A tertiary road travels north from Warrap before heading south to Marrial lou. Marial lou is also connected to Tonj via Ngabagok and Thiet by a secondary road.
September 2014 floods – UN report – 65 percent of the roads were impassable as have rain submerged lowland areas in Tonj North County
All season fixed-wing airstrips
Information last updated: 26/08/16
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