UN day celebrated in Malakal
27 October 2011 – After delays due to bad weather, United Nations Day was celebrated today at Shaabia National Secondary School for Girls in the Upper Nile State capital of Malakal.
The event was postponed after strong winds and rains marred planned activities on 24 October (the day's official date). Students presented poems, songs about peace, traditional dances and a drama demonstrating challenges facing girl-child education in South Sudan.
School Headmaster Bol Okier appreciated the mission's and UN agencies' decision to celebrate UN day in his school, and recognized the World Food Programme's (WFP) role in supporting the school with food items. "This event is a clear message that the new mission in South Sudan and UN Agencies are in complete cooperation with the local communities," said Mr. Okier.
He pointed out that furniture and other resources at the school were stretched because of the increasing number of South Sudanese students coming from the Republic of Sudan. "The school used to accommodate 200 students, but with the arrival of the returnee students the number went up to more than 500."
Explaining the role of UNMISS and UN agencies in South Sudan, Upper Nile State Coordinator Sonny Onyegbula emphasized the mission's new mandate and what it holds for the people of South Sudan. UN staff also cleaned the school compound and its environs.
Separately, an increase of check and tax collection points along the Nile and Sobat rivers since South Sudan's independence on 9 July has escalated transport, food and commodity prices in Upper Nile and surrounding states.
"If the checkpoints and taxes are reduced, the transportation and the prices will go back to normal," said Al hadi Mohammed, a trader in Malakal. Reports indicate that there are 99 checkpoints.
In response, the Upper Nile State Government has formed a committee headed by the State Minister of Information and Communication, Peter Lam Both to assess and identify actual numbers of checkpoints along the Sobat River.