Yirol East County, Lakes
2016 population projection: 97,728
Major population centers: Yirol town; Adior, Lekakedu and Pagarau Payams
Major ethnic group: Dinka (Dinka Ciec clan)
There is low risk of internal displacement but the County is currently hosting around 13,000 IDPs from neighboring, conflict affected counties.
Economy & livelihoods
Yirol East County residents engage in a mix of fishing, herding and farming for their livelihoods. The White Nile defines the County’s eastern border with Jonglei State, and fish provide a key source of nutrition in the dry season. Shambe town, on the banks of the Nile, earned a reputation for being an important fishing area and, as of 2014, catches were often ferried by boat directly to Juba or Bor. However, it is unclear whether this has continued throughout the conflict. Locals also herd cattle and farm, cultivating mainly sorghum and maize. Parts of the County’s south belongs to the Western Flood Plains livelihood zone where residents herd cattle and goats, in addition to cultivating groundnut, maize, sorghum and vegetables (notably beans and pumpkin). Wild water lily seeds and nuts are also consumed.
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
Yirol East County is classified as “Stressed” for this time period. According to the Annual Needs and Livelihood Analysis 2014 2015 report**, the County had a deficit of 5,384 tonnes of cereal for 2015.
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA.
Lakes State has not been a major site of conflict between Government and Opposition forces since fighting began in 2013. In the immediate aftermath of fighting in Juba, up to 50 people were reportedly killed in skirmishes between the two main warring sides in Yirol East County. However, the region has remained relatively unaffected since then.
There has been little internal displacement in Yirol East, but the County received approximately 5,800 IDPs from Jonglei State by early January 2014. The majority of Jonglei IDPs travelled first to Awerial County’s Mingkaman village, with some subsequently moving to Yirol East and Yirol West due to overcrowding at Mingkaman. More IDPs arrived in Yirol East as violence continued in neighboring Jonglei State. As of July 2015, there were an estimated 13,495 IDPs in the County. County Commissioner Manyang Luk said in October 2015 that most IDPs preferred to live with host families, and that lack of sufficient food and shelter in the area remained major concerns.
Yirol East appears to have experienced relatively lower levels of intercommunal violence compared to other counties in the state, though it has not been totally immune. In July 2015, the Pagarou payam administrator was shot and killed in his office, reportedly related to his attempt to resolve a local cattle raiding dispute. Conflicts mainly occur between the Twec and Atwot Dinka sub clans over grazing land, water points and animal movement.
Broader Trends in Lakes State
The SPLA SPLA IO conflict appears to have exacerbated intercommunal violence nation wide. There have been decades of inter clan and intra clan violence in Lakes State, however there has been an alarming rise in intercommunal violence and cycles of revenge attacks since early 2014. The influx of IDPs and their livestock inevitably strains existing, limited resources, including grazing land, water and salt licks. Migrating herds may destroy crops, leading to conflict between migrating herders and resident farmers. Intermingling between local and newly arrived herds has led to spread of diseases to previously unaffected populations. Locals sometimes raise concerns that new arrivals will claim land for themselves and eventually refuse to leave. Ongoing insecurity may also embolden criminal elements, who may use the environment of impunity to conduct more cattle raids, looting, and other criminal activities. Finally, the proliferation of small arms among Lakes State civilians appears to have increased the level of violence of these clashes and led to higher death tolls.
Also notable is that mistrust between the Government and Lakes State residents remain a possible source of conflict. There is significant local opposition to the state’s military caretaker governor, Maj Gen Matur Chut Dhoul, appointed by the president, who has been accused of exacerbating instead of reducing intercommunal violence.
Geography & logistics
Adior, Lekakedu, Malek, Pagarau, Tinagau, Yali
The majority of the County is categorized as part of the Nile Sobat livelihood zone, while sections belong to the Western Flood Plains zone. The Nile Sobat zone is characterized by green vegetation and black cotton soils, with swamps and wetlands. Western Flood Plains have black clay soils and short vegetation. The relatively flat Lakes State is prone to flooding in general, and both livelihood zones of Yirol East County experience annual flooding, with the Western Flood Plains areas also turning into swamps during the rainy season. Parts of the County are inaccessible during the rainy season as a result, which hinders the daily lives of local residents and presents a significant challenge to aid delivery.
Yirol Town sits in the middle of a primary road between Rumbek (the state capital) to its west and Awerial County to its east. The road to Rumbek is accessible to all vehicles but only during the dry season. Meanwhile, the road running east to Awerial is accessible to all vehicles throughout all seasons.
All season fixed-wing airstrips
Information last updated: 26/08/16
For more information, please contact us