New humanitarian hub in Raja County increases support to returnees from UNMISS and partners

unmiss south sudan western bahr el ghazal state iom returnees humanitarian hub raja county support peace

A newly constructed humanitarian hub in hard-to-access Raja County will make it easier to assist the growing number of previously displaced people returning to their homes.

20 Apr 2022

New humanitarian hub in Raja County increases support to returnees from UNMISS and partners

Michael Wondi

WESTERN BAHR-EL-GHAZAL STATE – Trust-building initiatives, installing a Radio Miraya transmitter in the area, rehabilitated infrastructure, a new police station and a completely refurbished school. The efforts made in Raja County by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and partners have been massive, but now refugees and previously internally displaced persons benefit from the work done.

“These are all great achievements that will allow humanitarian partners to be present and close to the vulnerable people they are here to assist. Their presence here means the continuation of human life,” said Edison Arkangelo Musa, Commissioner of Raja County.

His county is 300 km away from the state capital Wau. Poor roads, especially during the ongoing rainy season, means that it is also hard to access this area, which saw thousands of civilians flee for their lives as war and violence engulfed them.

Following the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in 2018, the many important initiatives cited above have created a much more conducive environment for those who by now have returned to their homes. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 18,000 people have done so over the last couple of months alone.

The same UN agency also constructed a recently inaugurated humanitarian hub in Raja County. Before the existence of these facilities, humanitarian partners operated from Wau, far from those in need on the ground. As pointed out by Deputy Governor Zakaria Joseph Garang, it will serve all humanitarian organizations, not just the International Organization for Migration, by making it easier for them to reach out to various communities in the area.

“There are still many returnees arriving, and now that peace has returned it’s the right time for the people of Raja to start asking for help to self-help – seeds and tools, for example – instead of food,” commented Sam Muhumure, Head of the peacekeeping mission’s field office in Wau.

While the future of Raja County and its people looks decidedly brighter than it has for quite some time, there is always room for improvement. Better road connectivity is top of the wish list.

“A joint effort to rehabilitate the road leading from Deim Zubeir to Raja town is needed. People living here would greatly benefit from it,” said the Deputy Governor.