19 Apr 2018

 

UNMISS To Repair 2,350 km Of Roads Country wide

David Shearer, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General said on Monday that the United Nations Mission in South Sudan will embark on the maintenance of about 2,350 kilometers of road in the country.

UNMISS To Repair 2,350 km Of Roads Country wide
One of the peace keeping engineering contingents repairing road in Luri [File photo|UNMISS]

By Jale Richard

JUBA, 13 December 2017 [Gurtong]-Key routes including Juba-Bor; Bor-Pibor, Yambio- Mundri; Rokon-Rumbek-Wau-Kuajok-Bentiu and Malakal-Melut will be targeted, some of which were repaired last year, but were damaged again during the rainy season, according Shearer.

He revealed that ongoing work on the 150km Juba-Yei road will be finished shortly.

“A well-maintained and reliable road network is vital to economic development and growth. That is true for every country, but it’s particularly important for an under-developed and conflict-affected nation like South Sudan,” said Shearer.  Without roads, farmers can’t get their goods to the market, traders can’t do business,” he added.

The UNMISS Chief said a few months ago he visited Aweil, which is experiencing less conflict than elsewhere, but people are going hungry because food can’t reach them. “That’s partly because, in the most fertile places, like the Equatoria, ongoing fighting means that food can’t be transported safely – or cheaply – to markets in the north. But it’s also because of the appalling state of the roads,” he noted.

South Sudan has only 215 kilometers of tarmac roads. At independence, it inherited one of the worst transport infrastructures in the world. For example, the journey from Juba to Bentiu is 1000km but takes 14-20 days and is only possible in the dry season. On a well-maintained road, that journey would take a fraction of the time.
 
“Fixing the roads helps improve security, like in the Equatoria, where UNMISS is able to push its peacekeeping patrols deeper and further to deter violence, and give people the confidence to go home,” he noted. A better transport network brings people together and helps build peace.”
“For example, the recent peace conferences that we have supported in Bor and Pibor would be much easier to hold if the participants are able to travel by road.”

Bangladeshi, Chinese, Indian and South Korean peacekeeping engineers will embark on the road rehabilitation programme.

He said World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) will rehabilitate a number of other important roads if support is forthcoming from donors. They will also carry out specialist and more permanent repairs on critical roads that UNMISS is working on.

He said though the primary responsibility for maintaining the road network lies with the Government, UNMISS has stepped because a functioning road infrastructure is vital for economic development.


 

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