Panyijar County, Unity
2016 population projection: 73,016
Major population centers: Nyal town, Ganylel town
Major ethnic group: Nuer (both Nyong and Ador clans)
Panyijar received a significant influx of IDPs during the onset of fighting in 2013, particularly to Ganylel town, Nyal town, and their surrounding islands. An initial assessment report found there were at least 39,209 IDPs in the County.
Economy & livelihoods
Residents traditionally engage cattle keeping, agriculture and fishing as their predominant means of livelihoods. A 2013 IOM assessment found that major livelihood practices, broken down, are 34 percent farming, 34 percent livestock rearing and 30 percent fishing. The black cotton and silt soil is suitable for agriculture. Crops include sorghum, maize, groundnut and cowpeas. Vegetables (such as okra, pumpkin, tomatoes) are also cultivated on a smaller scale. In addition to cattle, residents also raise goats and sheep. Herds are moved towards the River Nile from February to April and return to their regular locations in May. Panyijar County’s swamps and rivers provide opportunities for fishing, though lack of equipment prevents some residents from benefiting from this resource. Sales of natural resources such as grass, charcoal and firewood help supplement the livelihoods of some households. One location of note is Tayer, an island port where Dinka and Nuer traders operated side by side before the conflict. It was key trading hub for Lakes State goods into southern Unity.
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).
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
The County is classified as “Emergency” for this time period. According to the Annual Needs and Livelihood Analysis 2014 2015** report, the County had a deficit of 7,303 tons of cereal in 2015. Conflict related insecurity and displacement is the primary cause of the current state of food insecurity.
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA IO
Panyijar is part of the group of southern Unity counties from which the opposition movement has drawn its main support. It was contested during the conflict, though primarily under SPLA IO control. Throughout 2014 and 2015 SPLA forces attempted to eradicate the opposition in Panyijar through a series of offensives. However, it appeared the SPLA IO adhered to a policy of withdrawing to the bush when facing attack, thus avoiding direct battles and subsequently retaking territory when government forces left the area. The SPLA IO established a system of governance in Panyijar and other southern Unity counties by 2015 and was still reported to be in control of the county as of March 2016.
Panyijar received a significant influx of IDPs during the onset of fighting in 2013, particularly to Ganylel town, Nyal town, and their surrounding islands. An initial assessment report found there were at least 39,209 IDPs in the County. As the conflict continued, more civilians from Panyijar and other counties fled to the swamps near Nyal. By the end of December 2015, an estimated 2,500 3,500 IDPs were living in the swamps northwest of Nyal town alone. A significant number of Panyijar residents are believed to have also left the County to seek refuge from the fighting throughout 2014. For example, by June 2014, local authorities say approximately 2,000 IDPs from Panyijar had arrived in Rumbek Centre County. The two communities reportedly had good relations historically.
Geography & logistics
Ganyliel, Kol, Mayom, Nyal, Pachaar, Pachak, Pachienjok, Panyijiar, Thoarnhoum, Tiap
The County falls under the Nile Sobat Rivers livelihood zone classification. The geography is characterized by green vegetation (including papyrus, reeds and Napier grass), black cotton soils and swampy/wetland features. The heavy black cotton and silt soils are favorable for agriculture but it also turns into thick mud during rains, greatly hampering mobility. The River Moch runs across Panyijar’s southeast. During the rainy season, parts of the County become swamps including areas near the River Moch, its southwest corner and its eastern edge which borders the River Supiri.
The town of Nyal connects to Mayendit town, Mayendit County at its north and Among Piny town, of neighboring Lakes State’s Rumbek East County, at its south. The northern segment of the road, including around Nyal Town, is accessible only in the dry season, and only to 4WD (<3.5 metric tons). Meanwhile the southern segment is traversable by vehicles up to 20 metric tons but also only in the dry season.
All season fixed-wing airstrips
Information last updated: 26/08/16
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