Morobo County, Central Equatoria
2016 population projection: 142,657
Major population centers: Morobo, Yaribe and Panyume
Major ethnic group: Lubwara
There is low risk of internal displacement; however refugees from neighboring DR Congo and Uganda often flee into Morobo County when fighting comes near. For example, approximately 3,000 Congolese entered Morobo County in December 2012 due to fighting between Government and Opposition forces in the country’s east. According to media reports, most either subsequently returned home or were resettled at Lasu refugee camp in Yei County. According to March 2016 UNHCR figures, there were 233 Congolese refugees in Morobo County. Many South Sudanese live in DR Congo and Uganda, and also periodically return to South Sudan during times of tension.
Economy & livelihoods
According to a 2013 IOM assessment, 49 percent of the population engages in farming and 49 percent engage in animal husbandry for their livelihoods. The County is part of the country’s Greenbelt and has potential to become a major production hub, with fertile soils and high annual rainfall. However, challenges include lack of technical expertise in both production and distribution, lack of equipment and lack of quality seeds persist (most seeds are imported from Uganda and Kenya). For example, farmers are still using outdated methods of planting rice (e.g. broadcasting) instead of line planting. Major crops cultivated include groundnut, sorghum and maize. Some traders from Juba’s Customs market reportedly drive to Morobo (and Maridi, Magwi and Yei) to buy produce to sell in the capital. However, local producers lack the means to travel to Juba and generally sell their fresh produce at the nearest market, transporting their goods by bicycle or donkey cart.
Morobo County shares a border with both DR Congo and Uganda, which facilitates trade. Kaya village is a primary crossing point for cargo traveling from Uganda to Yei or Juba. Yet, overland transport even in this stable region is cumbersome. A 2011 National Bureau of Statistics study found that a vehicle travelling from Juba to Kaya is stopped an average of 12 times at checkpoints over the 235km journey (less frequent than more northerly routes). In addition, at every forced stop drivers are often asked to make a small unofficial payment, which in the study added up to 941 SDG** for the Juba-Kaya route. In total, the study found that vehicles traveling this route spent 24 hours and 39 minutes at checkpoints per journey.
**The official currency changed from the Sudanese pound (SDG) to the South Sudanese pound (SSP) following the 2011 referendum.
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
The County is classified as being at “Minimal” risk for this time period. According to the Annual Needs and Livelihood Analysis 2014-2015*** report, it had a surplus of 8,877 tons of cereal in 2015.
*** A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners
Situated at the country’s southernmost tip, Morobo County has escaped the worst of the national conflict and is one of the country’s most stable areas. However robberies by armed militia are frequent and sometimes deadly. In April 2016 two aid workers were killed near Gulumbi Village. Due to its location next to Uganda and DR Congo, the County hosts large numbers of South Sudanese returnees from those countries. There is some tension between communities on either side of the border with DR Congo relating to border demarcation disputes. In May 2016, a conflict between residents near the border, sparked by the alleged raising of DR Congo flags in Morobo villages, was referred to the national government, according to media reports.
Geography & logistics
Gulumbi, Kimba, Lujulo, Panyume, Wudabi
Morobo County sits at the very south of Central Equatoria State and borders both DR Congo and Uganda. It is part of the country’s greenbelt livelihood zone with favorable weather and soil conditions to grow a diverse variety of crops.
One primary and one secondary road connects Morobo town to Yei Town to its north. The primary road is open throughout the year to all vehicles and the secondary road is passable only with 4WD (<3.5 metric tons) with unknown accessibility during the rainy season.
All season fixed-wing airstrips
None. The closest air-strip is Yei, in Yei County.
Information last updated: 26/08/16
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