“Nimble and pro-active” peacekeeping response to be replicated in other crisis situations in South Sudan
United Nations peacekeepers in South Sudan have been praised by the most senior UN official in the country for a “nimble and pro-active” response in support of humanitarians dealing with an emergency.
David Shearer, the Head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, was speaking in Aburoc in the Upper Nile region where up to 25,000 people had taken refuge from conflict.
The village, which numbered some 5,000 people before the arrival of the displaced people, was lacking in water, food and health services.
UNMISS helicoptered in 80 Rwandan peacekeepers together with armoured vehicles to Aburoc at the beginning of April creating better security conditions for the arrival of the humanitarian community, two days later.
Mr Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, in South Sudan said “the presence of peacekeeping troops undoubtedly provided the security and confidence that humanitarian agencies needed to operate in this remote and dangerous area.”
“A cholera outbreak was stopped,” he added, “and hundreds of lives were saved as a result of this combined action together with a highly effective response by humanitarian agencies.”
“With the possibility that Aburoc was going to become a humanitarian disaster area it was important that everyone moved quickly,” Mr Shearer said. “I was very pleased peacekeepers were ready to deploy nimbly and proactively. A light and effective footprint on the ground was what was needed.”
“It’s great that UNMISS has shown this response to an emergency situation and are ready should another crisis occur in other parts of South Sudan,” he added.
The UNMISS deployment to Aburoc was planned to last a month but was extended by two weeks.
Humanitarian agencies remain in Aburoc providing life-saving services to the almost 11,000 people who remain there. UNMISS support is being continued through air patrols from Malakal.