When South Sudan declared independence from its northern neighbor, Sudan, becoming the world's newest nation, its infrastructure, especially roads, was severely underdeveloped. Even today, travelling to remote locations is a major challenge for communities and the United Nations alike, especially during the long rainy season when heavy downpours result in roads being washed away.
In Warrap, poor road conditions have resulted in communities being unable to access basic services, such as healthcare and education, and hampered local trade. Vitally, when conflict erupts, relief is delayed for affected communities.
An example: The road from Tonj town to Romich is a vital link connecting residents of the greater Tonj area to essential services. However, it is instantly submerged during the rains, isolating communities and disrupting their daily lives.
However, thanks to Chinese peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), this situation is soon set to change, as they have begun repairing this 120-kilometer stretch.
"As peacekeepers deployed to Warrap, we are conversant with the daily struggles that people go through here, especially farmers and traders, who need to be able to travel from one place to another or people who need, or community members who need urgent medical attention," elaborates Lieutenant Colonel Zhang Jianhui from China.
"We are, therefore, extremely happy to be able to help rehabilitate this road, which will boost trade and enable communities to convene and connect," he added.
Local authorities have been enthusiastic in their support and are supportive of the mission's engineers.
"We will do whatever is needed to make the road rehabilitation process smooth and ensure that repairs are completed according to the schedule decided by UNMISS peacekeepers," said Marco Angor Malang Angor, County Commissioner of Tonj South.
"Women and children across villages in Tonj South have been going through a difficult time accessing medical facilities and schools, respectively. We are optimistic that once the refurbished road is opened, it will lessen our suffering. We are very grateful for the help given to us by Chinese engineers," he stated.
For Anastasie Mukangarambe, Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Kuajok, these road repairs are essential for the mission to fulfil its mandated tasks.
"Our primary focus as peacekeepers is to protect civilians who are at imminent risk of being harmed during conflict. To do that, we must be able to reach them on time. These repairs by our Chinese engineers are critical for us to address the security and humanitarian needs of the Greater Tonj population," she averred.
Rehabilitating roads and infrastructure across South Sudan is part of the mission's efforts to build trust and foster reconciliation among communities.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
© Press Release 2021
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