Ethiopian peacekeepers assist humanitarian convoy along virtually non-existent road in Jonglei
Everybody needs food, but what if there is none and the suffering community lives far, far off the beaten track? World Food Programme faced this challenge when trying to reach the people of Pajut in Jonglei State.
The solution? They requested and received the successful assistance of Ethiopian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
On a map, the 197 km between Bor and Pajut would suggest a daytrip, possibly with a bit of time to spare. The reality on the ground, however, proved to be different.
Participants of the convoy, consisting of eighteen trucks loaded with food and other essentials and a number of peacekeeping vehicles offering force protection, knew they were in for a challenging journey, but not even they had anticipated what awaited them.
“We had planned on completing this mission in two days’ time, but the road, which nobody had taken before, turned out to be non-existent. Treacherous conditions made this a journey that took us a full four days,” recounts Colonel Nirey Miles, Commanding Officer of the Ethiopian contingent.
Fortune and planning favour the brave, however, and the peacekeepers had brought along sufficient supplies and all the necessary equipment to both reach their destination and safely return back to base.
Chris Lorro, a World Food Programme official who accompanied the convoy, was full of praise.
“I convey my deepest appreciation for and profound gratitude to these troops because without them we would not have been able to undertake this journey. “Not only did they help us reach Pajut, but they also stayed around and assisted us in delivering food items and agricultural supplies.”
Creating a conducive environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance is an important part of the peacekeeping mission’s mandate in South Sudan.