As rainy season approaches, UNMISS peacekeepers prepare to overcome mobility challenges
JONGLEI – When South Sudan gained independence from its northern neighbour, Sudan, the country’s infrastructure, especially road networks, were underdeveloped.
Nearly twelve years on, while the world’s newest nation is slowly recovering from the devastation of civil war and looking forward to its first-ever elections, climate change and conflict continue to exacerbate people’s suffering.
Given that the country has witnessed unprecedented flooding in recent years, peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have begun preparing for this year’s rainy season in advance.
In Jonglei state, Blue Helmets have trained themselves in skillfully maneuvering all terrain vehicles or Sherps.
Each individual high-powered vehicle, designed for rough and soggy terrain, with adjustable tyres depending on the ground that needs to be covered, can carry up to six passengers as well as deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to areas that were previously inaccessible due to floods.
During a recent visit by Major General Maureen O’Brien, Deputy Military Adviser from the UN’s Office of Military Affairs, peacekeepers demonstrated the impact that these all-terrain vehicles will have on the UN Peacekeeping mission’s ongoing efforts to protect civilians.
“Swift ground operations are key to operational success,” said Major General O’Brien. “We are aware of the tremendous mobility challenges that peacekeepers have faced over the years in South Sudan and I am confident that the deployment of these vehicles will hugely improve their ability to reach civilians in need in a timely fashion.”
Additionally, Major General O’ Brien met women peacekeepers in Bor learning about their unique contributions to a sustained peace in this young country.
“Women peacekeepers serving in Jonglei have done an excellent job in very tough conditions. They are role models for local counterparts and communities; I am heartened by their dedication to help build a better, more peaceful future for South Sudan,” revealed the Major General.
Resolving mobility challenges and ensuring a nimble, robust response to protection emergencies continues to be a focus for UNMISS.