United Nations (UN) General Assembly President meets with United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) engineers combating the impact of climate change and Thai peacekeepers supporting agriculture initiatives for local communities

United Nations (UN) General Assembly President meets with United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) engineers combating the impact of climate change and Thai peacekeepers supporting agriculture initiatives for local communities

United Nations (UN) General Assembly President meets with United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) engineers combating the impact of climate change and Thai peacekeepers supporting agriculture initiatives for local communities

United Nations (UN) General Assembly President meets with United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) engineers combating the impact of climate change and Thai peacekeepers supporting agriculture initiatives for local communities

Right through the heart of the UN compound in Tomping runs a drain so wide you could drive a large truck through it. This drain collects water from other run-off in neighbouring communities even before entering the UN compound and abuts the tarmac of the Juba International Airport.

The drain requires constant dredging and maintenance even during the dry season. But with the onset of the rains, it can become a mighty river and UNMISS engineers work continuously, dredging and cleaning the drain to ensure that the water does not affect UN operations or cripple the critical airport hub next door.

Wrapping up his goodwill visit to Juba, the President of the United Natio1ns General Assembly, Dennis Francis, saw first-hand the challenges that UNMISS engineers experience while keeping the UN compound safe as well as ensuring that Juba International Airport stays open for business.

Accompanied by staff from UNMISS’s engineering section, he spoke with site technicians, and visited the massive pumping station and reservoirs that need constant maintenance to avoid flooding in the compound.

“The rainy seasons can be quite a challenge, and the effects of climate change make it even worse. That is why our teams are on standby 24/7 to ensure that we take preventive action to keep the compound safe and, in effect, protect the runway at Juba International Airport,” said Yonas Araia, the chief of the Engineering section.

President Francis expressed his appreciation for the UNMISS engineers’ work while lamenting the effects of climate change and how it adds to the many challenges confronted in South Sudan.

“I’m happy to see that action is being taken on the ground to relieve the flooding situation. I know that it is not possible at this point to cover all the territory of the country, it’s a huge country, but it’s a step in the right direction and I commend the authorities in that regard and the UN personnel implementing the project,” said President Francis.

Later, President Francis also met with UN peacekeepers from the Royal Thai Army who have an engineering division on the same UN base to hear about their work to build and maintain roads and other infrastructure projects. He also learned about an innovative food and agriculture project being implemented by the Thai peacekeepers to support local communities.

Titled “Happy Tummy, Happy Me” the project runs a massive nursery where they grow many different types of herbs and food on their premises. The Thai peacekeepers provide demonstrations on new farming techniques to local communities to help them grow nutritious foods to supplement their diets and keep their children healthy.

“The partnership between the United Nations and the government and people of Thailand is a deeply valued, so I thank you very much for all that you do to represent both the UN and Thailand here in South Sudan, and to help to lift the people of this country,” said President Francis.

The President wrapped up his trip by commending the people and government of South Sudan for their efforts towards peace and progress.

“This country has extraordinary potential to take off and to develop and become a stable, harmonious, successful country. Of course, it will take some time as well as effort, dedication, wise and strategic judgment about how resources are allocated in order to deliver benefits to the people of South Sudan,” he said.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).