Fighting in May 2008 displaced approximately 55,000 people from Abyei town and surrounding areas from a total population of some 100,000. Up to 10,000 people displaced by fighting in May returned to Abyei after the signing of the Road Map peace agreement in June 2008. However, the majority were later displaced again by fighting in December and the latest reports from the UN indicate that the population of Abyei and surrounding areas is now fewer than 50,000, not including nomadic populations. Of these, most are living in displaced camps in Agok. Ongoing security concerns and very weak basic civil administration are the main barriers to returns.
The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £3 million for water, sanitation, health care and basic household items for the displaced in Abyei through the UN’s Common Humanitarian Fund. DFID is also providing some £6.2 million in support of the Abyei administration, police and education.