Indian engineers have launch a major project to repair over 200-km of road in strife-torn South Sudan that would improve the safety of travel for local motorists, traders and humanitarian organisations between two major cities in the country, a UN agency has said.
Indian engineers have launch a major project to repair over 200-km of road in strife-torn South Sudan that would improve the safety of travel for local motorists, traders and humanitarian organisations between two major cities in the country, a UN agency has said. The project is being carried out to repair 205 km of road from Malakal to Melut, in the northern region of South Sudan, which the United Nations has categorised among the least developed countries (LDC). The main road has been virtually impassable since the onset of the rainy season in May, which effectively cut off the main supply route between the two towns. The project would improve accessibility to Malakal and Melut and be a relief for all road users, including local motorists and traders, as well as humanitarian agencies trying to access vulnerable people, the local Governor, James Tor Munybuny, said yesterday at an event marking the commencement of the work. Praising Indian engineers, serving under the UN Mission (UNMISS) in South Sudan, Munybuny said the project is a sign of the strong relationship between the Mission and local authorities as it demonstrated their joint commitment to building durable peace in the country. India is the second largest contributor of peacekeepers to UNMISS with nearly 2,400 personnel currently deployed. In a media release, the Head of UNMISS’ Upper Nile Field Office, Hazel Dewet, said the Malakal-Melut road was critical to the Mission’s operations in the area and would improve trade and business between these two important towns.
“This is not just an important activity that we are undertaking to ensure that we are able to provide the necessary logistical support to far-flung areas where UNMISS is based, be it Melut, or Renk or Bunj, but it is also the beginning of providing some important repair work on a road that brings together families and communities,” she said. Tens of thousands of people have died in the civil war in the world’s youngest nation since December 2013 that erupted when President Salva Kiir accused Riek Machar, his former deputy, of plotting a coup. India has two battalions of about 2,000 personnel in the UNMISS, deployed in two of the largest states in South Sudan – Jonglei and Upper Nile. Also a police component of around 37 Indian Police officers who have been assisting the African nation in building up the police structures, and a number of civilian officials are in various other departments of UNMISS, according to information available on the Ministry of External Affairs website.
Indian Army contingents have been undertaking several social welfare initiatives like holding medical camps, donating books to educational institutions, building roads in South Sudan, which is home to around 700 Indians.