53% of the IDPs will return to Nuba Mountains

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
29 Jun 2005

IDP intentions concerning return to their places of origin sample survey Khartoum, North, East, Central Sudan and Nuba

Executive Summary

At the request of the Government of Sudan represented by HAC, the proposed IDP survey was carried out in Khartoum and other IDP locations in the regions of North (Nile and Northern State), East (Red Sea, Kassala and Gedaref States), Central (White Nile, Blue Nile and Sennar States) Sudan and South Kordofan (Nuba). This project is particularly pertinent to ensure adequate assistance to returning IDPs and as such had the participation of the GoS, UN agencies and other organizations whose mandates provide support to IDPs. HAC, UNHCR, OCHA, IOM, WHO, UNICEF, NRC and FAR participated in the implementation and funding of the survey. The objectives of the survey were: to collect data on the intentions, motivations and concerns of IDPs regarding voluntary return; to gather IDPs basic demographic and socio-economic information; to provide an indication of the number of IDPs planning to return; and to indicate geographic locations of return destinations and probable return routes.

Available information on the number of IDPs and their locations provided the frame for the sample selection. Households were selected as sample units or units of analysis and the respondents were in most cases the heads of household. The estimated number of the IDPs considered for the population frame was 2,895,778, living in 11 states and corresponding to 482,630 households. For the survey interviews, 7,020 households were selected and interviewed, corresponding to 44,238 persons.

A total of 54 locations were selected for the survey in the following states: Khartoum, El Jezira, Sennar, Blue Nile, White Nile, Red Sea, Kassala, Gedaref, River Nile, Northern State and South Kordofan. Locations were either IDP camps (or part of the camps), squatter areas or neighbourhoods in towns / villages with a large number of IDPs residing at the "location".

The interviewed (sampled) population predominantly originate from the Nuba Mountains (South Kordofan -- 37%) and South Sudan -- 33%. Other significant areas of origin are in eastern Sudan -- 14% (Kassala, Red Sea and Blue Nile State) of IDPs interviewed and western Sudan -- 13% (the Darfurs, West and North Kordofan). In the Red Sea and Kassala States around 67% of the IDPs originate from these same states and in South Kordofan and in Blue Nile almost all IDPs, respectively 94% and 99%, originate from the same states.

The IDP population originating from South Sudan and Nuba Mountains are mainly living in Khartoum. Indeed, 67% of the households originating from the South Sudan and 32% of the households originating from the Nuba Mountains are in camps/squatter areas in Khartoum.

Only 10% of the IDP households left their place of origin before 1980 (3% in the sixties and another 7% in the seventies). Most of the IDPs left their place of origin during the eighties -- 42% and nineties -- 34%. 14% of the total IDPs interviewed left their place of origin after 2000.

The average household size for sampled IDP families was 6.3 persons. This size does not vary significantly by different ethnic groups or geographic origin. Of the total IDPs, 51% were female and 49% male. The IDP population is young, 42% of the total are children (0 -- 14 years) and 58% are adults (aged 15 years or more). The average age for the interviewed population was 22 years.

Heads of the households were predominantly men (84%) and only 16% of households were women headed. Among the heads of household, 12% are divorced or widowed women and 4% are married women. Heads of household who are widowed or divorced men constitute 3% of all

heads of household. In addition, only 3% of the heads of household are men. The great majority of the heads of the household (78%) were married men.

In the sample, 74 % of persons older than 14 years old speak their local (tribal) language and Arabic; 10% of all adults can speak English. Among the adult population 48% have no formal education, 5% stated that they are still attending primary school, 34% have completed primary or intermediate school, 8.% finished high school and 1.4% finished university (college). The breakdown of the surveyed population (44,238) according to activity status is the following: child/minor 24%, students 27%, housewives 10%, persons not working and looking for a job 11% and working 27%. The active population (labour force) is 48%. Of the active population, 56% are working and 44% are not working or looking for a job. For 27% of the IDPs who are working, the occupation is casual labour. Other 17% declared an undefined occupation (identified in the survey as 'other'), but it can be assumed that this latter category also includes persons employed as casual labourers. The other more declared occupations were: 11% agriculture related, 8% military or police, 6% business or commercial related occupations, 5% in housekeeping, 4% in construction, 3% in education (teachers) and 2% in health services. Handicraft, transportation and watchman represented 6 % of the occupations. Data on occupations that IDPs had before displacement was also collected. Of those that declared previous occupations, the breakdown is as follows: 59% were in agriculture, 7% in the military, 7% as casual labourers, 6% as shepards / herders and 3 % in education.

Most of the households live in houses made of mud brick (41%) and in traditional mud huts (30%). Improvised shelters of cardboard-plastic-sticks made up 17% of the interviewed IDP households. Solid brick houses (cement or stone) made up less than 1%. The main reason for displacement stated by the interviewed IDPs was conflict in the areas of origin, with 64% of the households naming this reason. Another significant mentioned reason was economic factors (20 % of the respondents). Drought was also stated as a reason for displacement affecting 5% of the interviewed households, 7% named 'other reason' and for 4% data is not available.

The majority of IDPs, 68% of the total, said that they would return, 11% said that they have not decided yet and 22% said that they will not return.

The decision to return varied by areas of origin. For the IDPs who originate from South Sudan, 80% said that they would return (78% to their place of origin and 2% to other village/town). Other 10% of the southerners stated that they have not decided yet and the remainder 10% said that they will not return.

A high percentage of IDPs planning to return is also found among those who originate from South Kordofan -- 70%, Blue Nile -- 82%, Red Sea -- 94%. However, IDPs originating from Kassala responded differently - the majority of them (78%) said that they will not return and 13% have not decided yet.

Of the total IDP households interviewed, 32% stated that they would return within a 6-month period and another 35% stated that they would return after 2005. The remaining 33% are those who will not return or have not decided yet.

When asked about the factors that influenced their decision to return, 74% of the respondents mentioned the signature of the peace agreement. The other most frequently mentioned reasons were conditions in the place of displacement ( 46%) and the desire to return to the home areas (47%).

Regarding immediate concerns that potential returnees expect to face upon arrival at their place of origin, the most frequently mentioned were food (73%), water (62%) and shelter (56%).Healthcare and education were also highly ranked as concerns and were mentioned by roughly half of those who plan to return.

When asked what plans they had for income generation upon return, most respondents (87% of the ones who decided to return) mentioned a particular occupation. Other 13% do not know (or data is not available). 78% of all respondents who wish to return said that they would engage in agriculture while 4% intend to do commerce/business.

Using the survey results as a model to estimate the returns to the area of origin, it can be estimated that 53% of the IDPs will return to Nuba Mountains and 48% to South Sudan. The breakdown for return to South Sudan by regions is as follows: Bahr El Ghazal (42%), Equatoria (37%) and Upper Nile (22%).

Among all interviewed households, 22% stated that they will not return. Of these, 34% said that continuing education for one or more household member(s) is the main reason for having decided not to return. In addition, 26 % cited the availability of job and career opportunities.

11% of respondents said that they still have not decided whether they are going to return to their place of origin.

Nearly 60% of all interviewed respondents have identification documents (citizenship certificate or ID card), while 34% do not have any official identification document.

The household respondents were asked if they have any property in the place of displacement: 55% stated that they have property and 45% do not have any property.

All respondents who declared they would return were asked what additional information they would like to have for helping their returning decisions. The most frequently mentioned need was information on safe routes (43%). The cost of travel and information on conditions at the place of origin were also mentioned by large groups (respectively 39% and 35%).

All household respondents were asked to identify his/her preferred information source. The most favoured information source is radio (38%), followed by information through community members or community leaders (27%) and TV (20%). Only 2% prefer to receive information through newspapers.

Of the total interviewed households, 23% have at least one vulnerable member. This percentage can be broke down into two main types of vulnerability: 15% of the households have pregnant or lactating women and 9% have other vulnerable members such as chronically ill, physically disabled and mentally ill persons.

The respondents were asked if there is a member of the household who requires ongoing medical treatment. In 7% of all households there is at least one member who requires medical treatment and care.