As conflict surges in the troubled Upper Nile state of the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is making every effort to protect and support affected civilians.
Yesterday, a high-level delegation visited Kodok, an area in Fashoda county, where some 20,000 people displaced by fighting among armed groups have congregated near the UNMISS base here.
Humanitarian needs are enormous; while peacekeepers from India are doing their best to provide emergency aid, clean water, sanitation, and shelter are urgent requirements, not to mention nutritious food.
“Our peacekeepers are doing their best to facilitate humanitarian access, especially using riverine access via the Nile,” says Leda Limann, Head of the mission’s Field Office in the state capital, Malakal, who was on the ground speaking and interacting with the newly displaced.
Next to Ms. Limann was Acting Governor, Luke Saadallah Deng, who assured the conflict-affected that state authorities were doing everything in their power to quell tensions and ensure calm prevails.
“It is our primary responsibility as the Government to ensure all citizens are protected. Things are slowly getting better and I urge community leaders to encourage their people to embrace peace. Everybody has an individual responsibility to resolve disputes without resorting to violence. If we all commit to this, I am sure stability will soon return and people will be able to return to their original settlements to rebuild their lives,” stated the Acting Governor.
For Opiti Tor, who has arrived in Kodok just eight days prior, the presence of Blue Helmets is reassuring after the horrors he has witnessed.
“It has been a difficult time for many of us but we are grateful to peacekeepers for providing us immediate protection,” he stated. “We hope humanitarian partners will establish more water points because clean water is essential for us at the moment.”
While conditions are difficult for the newly displaced, it is hoped that the worst is over and with the passage of time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).