Uror County, Jonglei
2016 population projection: 237,415
Major population centers: Yuai is the capital of Uror County. Mwot Tot is sizable town, located along the Ayod Waat road.
Major ethnic group: Lou Nuer
Low level of local displacement as a result of food insecurity. The county has received significant numbers of IDPs, fleeing conflict related insecurity. Yuai, the County’s capital, was a key area of convergence for IDPs in the beginning of the conflict, as people fled Bor and Malakal. Some 17,000 IDPs were recorded in mid January 2014, and many more likely went to other payams in the County and were assimilated with host populations. Conflict in nearby Gadiang, a militarily strategic location on the roads to Yuai and Waat caused further displacement in 2015.
*National Bureau of Statistics, Population projections for South Sudan by County
Economy & livelihoods
Agriculture and livestock rearing are both important sources of livelihood in Uror County. ACTED classifies the county as part of the “Eastern Flood Plains” Livelihood Zone (LZ) that stretches across Upper Nile and Jonglei States. FEWS NET further specifies it as part of an “Eastern Plains Sorghum and Cattle” LZ within the vast eastern flood plains. The main crops grown are sorghum, millet, groundnut, sesame, pumpkins and vegetables. People rear cattle, goats, sheep and chicken. Cattle migrations take place during the dry season when pastoralists migrate towards the southeastern bank of the Sobat River. Fishing and foraging supplements livelihoods, comprising an estimated 20 25 percent of poor and very poor household annual food needs (ACTED, Sep 2013). The main hazards to livelihoods in the area include intercommunal conflicts and cattle raiding, flooding, livestock diseases, crop pests, and drought. In 2013, market access was reported to be relatively good, due to improvements of the roads to Bor and Juba.
The violence that erupted in December 2013 disrupted livelihoods in the area. Seasonal food insecurity was exacerbated by substantial flows of IDPs into the community. Agriculture production for 2013 in Uror and Akobo Counties were already low, after flooding in the prior year (IRNA Feb 2014). Markets that depend on food commodities from Juba through Bor were completely cut off during the crisis. The FAO reported outbreaks of livestock disease in Uror and abnormal cattle movements around the county in 2014. In Aug 2015, the organization reported that some normal movements returned in northern parts of the country, though abnormal movements also continued.
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
The IPC projected “crisis” levels of food insecurity for Uror County for January through March 2016. The IPC reported “crisis” levels for the county for all of 2015, further specifying that the area would likely be at least 1 phase more insecure without humanitarian assistance.
“Emergency” levels of food insecurity were reported for May to August 2014 and, in December 2014, the IPC reported that markets were not functional and significant humanitarian food aid was being provided for more than 20 percent of the county population who had no harvests of their own.
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA/M IO
Part of the Lou Nuer north, Uror County was under SPLA IO control for much of the conflict. At the end of a year of fighting in Jonglei State, the SPLA IO controlled Akobo, Nyrol and Uror Counties; the government controlled Bor South, Twic East, Pochalla, most of Duk Counties, and Ayod town; and, Fangak and Pigi/Canal Counties remained contested. Northeastern parts of Uror County were administered as Bieh State, under the SPLA/M IO’s new map for South Sudan. In many areas, however, community defense forces, or white armies, reportedly had greater control than official armed groups (Small Arms Survey, 2014).
Among the opposition, it is difficult to differentiate between SPLA IO fighters and the white army. The white army (Jich Mabor) is an informal network of armed community defense groups in Nuer lands that are mobilized in times of crisis. The term itself precedes the current conflict. Mobilization of the white army is fluid, but reports estimate its size reached the multiple tens of thousands (SAS 2014).
As a crossroads Uror County, and particularly Yuai, received significant numbers of displaced persons. In May 2015, fighting between SPLA and the SPLA IO near Uror County displaced people deeper into Uror County. Throughout 2015, authorities of several Jonglei State counties, including Uror, attempted to avoid further engagement in the larger national conflict and to operate with relative diplomacy towards neighboring counties. By September 2015, following grassroots reconciliation initiatives, cross border cattle trading activities between Uror County and the Gawaar Nuer communities in Ayod County had greatly improved. When Duk County received IDPs from Ayod and Uror Counties, fleeing food insecurity, the Duk commissioner reported that the situation was calm – relations between Ayod’s Gawaar Nuer and the Duk people were peaceful, and relations with the Lou Nuer of Uror were reportedly not as good but both communities were working to maintain good relations (October 2015).
More recently, in February 2016, the SPLA IO accused SPLA of a military build up in Jonglei State. Soldiers were reportedly seen moving around Gadiang, Uror and Akobo Counties. As of July 2016, no further information is available.
Geography & logistics
Karam, Motot, Pathai, Payai, Pieri, Puolchoul, Tiam, Uror
Uror County is located in the center of Jonglei State. It borders seven of the state’s eleven counties. The area is mainly low flat plains covered in savannah grassland, bush and scattered trees.
Mwot Tot is located along a major road from Waat (Nyirol County) to Ayodin the west. From Ayod, major roads extend north to Malakal and south to Bor. Secondary roads also extend from nearby Waat directly to Malakal, Akobo town and Fadiat (through Uror County).
All season fixed-wing airstrips
Waat, Motot (or Mwot Tot)
Information last updated: 26/08/16
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