Panrieng County, Unity
2016 population projection: 118,336
Major population centers: Pariang Town
Major ethnic group: Dinka (Dinka Ruweng clan)
The County has experienced continual waves of displacement due to ongoing conflict. There were 17,932 registered IDPs in the county as of August 2015, according to humanitarian groups.
Economy & livelihoods
Residents of Pariang County are agro pastoralists. The main crops cultivated are sorghum and vegetables including okra, cowpeas and pumpkin. People herd mainly goats, with some also keeping cattle and sheep. Cattle raids and conflict over resources often accompany the seasonal migration of herds into Greater Bahr El Ghazal. Some fishing also takes place. Trade in firewood, elephant grass and casual labor are common means through which poorer households supplement their income. A September 2015 IPC report found residents from Abiemnhom, Mayom, Pariang, Panyijiar and Rubkona counties relying on the following sources of income: sale of firewood, charcoal or grass (35.7 percent); sale of livestock and livestock products (14.5 percent); sale of alcoholic beverages (12.7 percent); sale of fish (9.2 percent), agriculture (9.2 percent); casual labor (6.7 percent); gifts, borrowing, begging or sale of food aid (3.6 percent).
Pariang is also an economically important region of South Sudan as it contains several oilfields – oil being a vital contributor to the national economy. The country shut down all production in 2012 due to a dispute with Sudan. However, South Sudan restarted production at oilfields including the Tor field in Pariang in 2013. Speaking in September, South Sudan’s petroleum and mining minister said the Tor field was expected to produce 5,300 barrels of oil per day upon relaunch However, it is unclear how much production actually took place before all oil fields in Unity State were again shut down, due to the onset of fighting, by the second week of January 2014.
Oil spillages are also believed to have led to health problems among some residents and livestock in Pariang. In May 2016 the minister of information told the media that oil spillages in the county were the cause of diseases, such as congenital malformation among newborn children. The official added that the Government had asked oil companies to dispose of chemical residues properly and to protect the environment.
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
The County is classified as “Crisis” for this time period. According to the Annual Needs and Livelihood Analysis 2014 2015** report, the county’s food security outlook had improved over the reporting period. It had a deficit of 9,268 tons of cereal in 2015.
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA
Pariang has been predominantly controlled by the SPLA since the outbreak of conflict, though it is also home to the main SPLA IO base in Unity State, at Panakuac. Fighting broke out in the county as early as 20 December 2013 when an estimated 400 defectors moved southwards from an SPLA base in the county’s north, and attacked villages and SPLA loyalists in Panyang village. The fighting soon reached Pariang town. However, by March 2014 the SPLA had reportedly established overall control over the county and was using it as a base from which it attempted to re take the state capital, Bentiu, from the SPLA IO. Skirmishes between the two sides continued over the next year, including near the oil fields, which led to reportedly heavy damage to the pipelines. At the onset of its spring 2015 campaign, an SPLA force pinned the Opposition to its base at Panakuac while other government troops attempted to eradicate SPLA IO forces from southern Unity. Upon completing its southern initiative in June, the SPLA launched a successful attack on the SPLA IO base which forced opposition fighters into Sudan. The operation effectively destroyed the SPLA IO’s main military base in South Sudan and defeated the opposition army as a military force in Unity, though skirmishes continued into 2016. As of February 2016, UN Mine Action is working to clear landmines and other explosive remnants of war reportedly left in Pariang (as well as Mayom, Bentiu, Abiemnhom and Leer).
The County has experienced continual waves of displacement due to ongoing conflict. There were 17,932 registered IDPs in the County as of August 2015, according to humanitarian groups. Most IDPs were from the county’s Nyiel, Biu, Aliny, and Wunkur payams, or from Bentiu, Malakal, Leer and Rubkona. The majority of IDPs were integrated into the host communities. Both the host population and the majority (98percent) of IDPs are ethnic Dinka and practice Christianity.
The county’s oil minister announced that Unity oil fields would recommence operations following the Panakuac offensive. However, heavy damage to the oil fields’ pipelines – incurred both by their sudden shutdown during the onset of conflict as well as fighting – suggests repairs would take at least one year.
Pariang is also hosting a number of Sudanese refugees, fleeing fighting in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The refugees first began arriving in Pariang in 2012, and as of mid 2013 there were an estimated 70,000 residing in the County, mainly at Yida.
Geography & logistics
Aliiny, Biu, Jamjang, Nyeel, Pariang, Werthen, Wunkur
The County’s (roughly) northern half fall under the Eastern Flood Plains livelihood zone, while it’s southern half under the Nile Sobat Rivers zone. The low lying flatlands of the Eastern Flood Plains are prone to flooding even with light rains. Receding waters leave behind fertile, loamy soil, however, flooding tends to restrict agricultural activities. The Nile Sobat Rivers areas are also prone to flooding. The landscape tends to take on swampy/wetland characteristics during the rainy season. The soil is black cotton and the area has green vegetation. Lake Jaw is located at Pariang’s north, and the River Bahr el Ghazal at its southeast, where flooding typically occurs in the rainy season.
In addition to several secondary roads running within the County, notably Pariang connects to Bentiu via a primary road (open to all vehicles but only in the dry season) and Malakal, Upper Nile State to its east via a secondary road. The road to Upper Nile State is accessible only in the dry season and passable only with trucks (<20 metric tons).
All season fixed-wing airstrips
Pariang, Yida, Ajuong Thok
Information last updated: 26/08/16
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