Khorflus (Canal), Jonglei
2016 population projection: 132,300
Major population centers: Canal town and Khorfulus
Major ethnic group: Predominantly Padang Dinka, but some Nuer.
Medium to high risk of conflict related displacement from and through the county. Canal County received many IDPs immediately following outbreak of conflict in 2013. Authorities reported that 35,000 fled Malakal town to Canal County and 54,000 from southern Baliet County and surrounding areas (IRNA July 2014). In late 2014 and early 2015, when significant fighting took place within Canal, populations fled to neighboring counties. More than 513,000 persons remain displaced throughout Jonglei State, as of March 2016 (OCHA).
Economy & livelihoods
Canal County is part of the “Nile and Sobat Rivers” livelihood zone (ACTED Sep 2013). The primary livelihoods include agriculture, rearing livestock, fishing, and foraging. The main crops are sorghum and maize, as well as pumpkin, cowpeas, sesame and vegetables. Better off households keep cattle, goats and sheep. Lou Nuer cattle owners from neighboring Nyirol County typically travel northwest towards Canal to access water during the dry season. Under normal conditions floods are a main livelihood hazard as they can limit fishing activities and reduce crop, livestock, and wild foods production. Additionally, even prior to the conflict, Canal County was characterized by lack of development, poor physical infrastructure, periodic low level conflict from cattle raiding and militia activity. All of these factors contributed to underlying vulnerability to resource and livelihood shocks (IRNA 2014).
The conflict caused significant displacement into and within Canal County, which placed stress on already scarce resources. Following an influx of IDPs from neighboring counties, an estimated 89,000 people (both IDP and host populations) were in dire need of assistance. As of mid 2014, the population had reportedly not received any assistance, no harvests were reaped, and markets had stopped functioning (IRNA 2014). The county became one of the country’s military frontlines in late 2014 and early 2015 (and was within shelling distance prior to that), which only made humanitarian interventions more challenging. As of February 2016, minimal or no market activities were reported for long periods in Ayod, Fangak, and Canal counties in Jonglei Sate (FAO 2016).
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
The IPC reports “crisis” levels of food insecurity for Canal County for January to March 2016. It has consistently projected “crisis” levels for the county since August 2015. It projected “emergency” levels of food insecurity from June 2014 to July 2015, citing limited humanitarian access, insecurity, no market functionality, and no food stocks. In those same months, IRNA reports emphasized the presence of sizable IDP populations, active fighting, virtually empty markets, and months without harvests (IRNA 2014).
Dominant Control during conflict: Disputed. SPLA in northern parts of the county, along the Nile and SPLA IO in southern and western parts.
Canal County occupies a strategic location at the confluence of the Sobat and Nile Rivers, south of Malakal town. Its proximity to frontlines in the fighting in Jonglei and Upper Nile States meant that the county was vulnerable early in the conflict to shelling primarily targeted at other, larger urban conflict centers. The population in Canal County is primarily Padang Dinka, though the county lies among Nuer dominant areas south of the Sobat and Nile Rivers. Lou Nuer live to the east and south, and Gawaar Nuer to the west and south.
Early in the conflict, widespread violence between the Dinka and Nuer communities in northern Jonglei was largely avoided, due to a prior local agreement between the groups (Crisis 2014). The Padang Dinka of Pigi County are a distinct ethnic group from the Greater Bor Dinka living in southern Jonglei. Pigi Dinkas have their own set of grievances with the South Sudanese government, including the experience of an abusive SPLA counter insurgency campaign in 2011. The Nuer White Army in northern Jonglei differentiated between the Pigi and Greater Bor Dinka communities. In the hopes that the Pigi community would join the opposition movement, the White Army established that Pigi Dinkas would not be attacked (Crisis 2014). While some in Canal County did take up arms with the opposition, or provided food to its fighters or Nuer refugees, many residents also fled north to Dinka dominant areas and some joined the SPLA.
SPLA incursions into Canal County in late 2014 and early 2015 resulted in significant population displacement. The SPLA division headed by Johnson Olony attacked and destroyed villages in Canal and Fangak Counties and targeted civilians in areas along the border between Jonglei and Upper Nile. By mid 2015, the SPLA held northern Canal State, including Atar. Several thousand Dinka reportedly left Atar for Malakal and the UNMISS PoC base, for fear of a reprisal attack by Shilluk forces. Thus highlighting rising ethnic tension in the area.
Geography & logistics
Alam Atar, Belewach, Kaldak, Korwach, Mareng, Nyainthokmalual
Pigi/Canal County borders Upper Nile State to the north and east, Fangak County to the west, and Ayod and Nyirol Counties to the south. The Sobat River flows into the Nile at the county’s northern border. Additionally, the River Atar flows in the county’s western region and the River Fulus in the east. Areas immediately around the rivers are characterized by swampy vegetation of papyrus, reeds, Napier grass and bush scrub. Areas further out from the rivers transition into low, flood plains and bush.
A major road runs north south through Canal County, connecting Ayod, Bor, and Juba to the south to Malakal to the north. Secondary roads run along the southern bank of the Nile River and the western bank of the Fulus River, through the county.
All season fixed-wing airstrips
Information last updated: 26/08/16
For more information, please contact us