17 January 2014, Geneva, Switzerland - UNOSAT released fresh analysis illustrating how people are fleeing violence in urban areas in South Sudan to seek refuge at UN bases nearby. In one of the analyses, UNOSAT experts have documented the growth of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Rubkona base of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The analysis shows the progressive increase of informal shelters erected by IDPs to settle in the UN base, most probably to seek safety. Imagery analysis reveals that a portion of the UNMISS compound is in use by IDPs, occupying more than 3.9 ha as of 13 January, compared with 2.6 ha 10 days earlier.

The increase is likely linked to the destruction of the town of Rubkona, situated in the vicinity of the UNMISS base. UNOSAT reviewed all structures in the town to verify reports of damage and determined that the majority of the town has been destroyed, primarily by fire. UNOSAT analysts identified a total of 3,838 burned or otherwise destroyed structures throughout the town centre as well as in outlying areas surrounding Rubkona. In addition, debris piles observed in multiple locations suggest looting according to UNOSAT experts.

According to estimates published by OCHA, around 468,000 people are believed to have been displaced within South Sudan since 15 December 2013 because of the conflict. An estimated 83,900  have crossed into neighbouring countries, primarily Uganda. The UN puts the number of people sheltering in UNMISS bases at around 66,900, with the largest concentrations of people in Juba and Malakal.

To view all UNOSAT maps on this emergency follow this link.
Images: Above: a detail of the UNOSAT assessing of the destruction of the town on Rubkona. Below:  IDP shelters inside the UNMISS base are clearly visible from space.