Surma is one of the 77 woredas in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region of Ethiopia. It is named for the Surma people, whose homeland lies in the southern part of the woreda. Part of the Bench Maji Zone, Surma is bordered on the south and west by Sudan, on the north by the Akobo River which separates it from Sheko, and on the east by Dizi. Towns in this woreda include Bambu and Chela. A portion of the Omo National Park extends into the southern part of this woreda.
The average elevation in this woreda is 2088 meters above sea level. Rivers include the Kaia River, a tributary of the Akobo, which has its origins in this woreda. High points include Mount Naita (2560 meters) on the Ethiopian-Sudanese border. According to a 2004 report, Surma had 26 kilometers of dry-weather roads, for an average road density of 5 kilometers per 1000 square kilometers. This lack of roads means remote locations are accessible only by air. Moreover, there is no radio communication available in this woreda. As of 2008[update], about 30% of the total population of Surma has access to drinking water.
On 29 September 2003, violence erupted between Surma and Anuak people following the killing of an Anuak woman by Surma men. The next day armed Anuak tribesmen shot and killed 20 Surma who were mining for gold in Naymei kebele. It remained unclear at year's end whether the government made any response to these incidents.
Based on figures published by the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, this woreda has an estimated total population of 33,488, of whom 15,286 are men and 18,202 are women. With an estimated area of 4,883.13 square kilometers, Surma has an estimated population density of 6.9 people per square kilometer, which is less than the Zone average of 20.
In the 1994 national census Surma had a population of 23,773, of whom 12,925 were men and 10,848 women; the census identified no urban inhabitants. (This total also includes an estimate for the inhabitants of 5 rural kebeles, which were not counted; they were estimated to have 3,201 inhabitants, of whom 2,438 were men and 763 women.) The three largest ethnic groups reported in this woreda were the Surma people (93.79%), the Dizi (3.09%), and the Amhara (1.71%); all other ethnic groups made up 1.41% of the population. Suri was spoken as a first language by 94.02% of the inhabitants, 2.9% spoke Dizin, and 2.01% spoke Amharic; the remaining 1.07% spoke all other primary languages reported. Concerning education, 43.65% of the population were considered literate; 33.59% of children aged 7-12 were in primary school; 15.31% of the children aged 13-14 were in junior secondary school, and 12.5% of the inhabitants aged 15-18 were in senior secondary school. Concerning sanitary conditions, about 70% of the urban and 16% of the total had toilet facilities.
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