JUBA, (Xinhua) --
As South Sudan begins a new era ushered in by the
recent peace agreement, local aid workers who have mostly been
victims of the five-year conflict in which hundreds of them lost
their lives are now hoping the security situation will improve
and allow more unfettered access to thousands in need of
Junior Ali, 31 old
years old spokesperson for Smile Again Africa Development
Organization (SAADO), a local NGO dealing with food security and
livelihood that has been operating in the country prior to
outbreak of conflict in December 2013, says they are very glad
that the warring factions decided to lay down their weapons
which he hopes will provide them unhindered access to areas they
were unable to reach previously.
“In South Sudan it
has been really so challenging; access has been a problem for
humanitarian agencies because of so many check points and also
attacks on premises of humanitarian agencies,” Ali told Xinhua
in Juba on Saturday.
“I do not know if it
(peace) will hold but I am very optimistic that this time round
something good is coming. I think now we are shifting from
emergency response to building resilience of the communities. We
are going to focus on building infrastructure like roads and
good schools,” he added.
President Salva Kiir
and rebel leader Riek Machar signed the final revitalized peace
agreement on Sept. 12 in Ethiopia which observers are hoping it
will not collapse like previous ones.
The South Sudan
conflict has killed nearly 400,000 people according to estimates
from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The UN says four
million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and
externally, hence making it one of the most prolonged
humanitarian crisis. Relief agencies hope to reach 7 million
people at risk of hunger and starvation in 2019.
“At the moment it
would not be fair to say right now that we can now operate
countrywide. It is a gradual process, but we are optimistic that
with time when peace has been embraced by all these individual
actors who are causing all these impediments there will be some
calm and humanitarian agencies will work across the country,”
UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates 98 aid
workers have been killed during the conflict.
Bati Nyamiri, a 26
years old pump technician with the Nile Sustainable Development
Organization which deals with building bore holes and sanitation
in local communities said he hoped peace will allow his
colleagues to reach neglected communities in areas they have not
suffering because of lack of clean water and now we have managed
to change lives digging bore holes and now cholera related cases
have reduced,” said Nyamiri, adding that they have been able to
improve access to clean water for communities they have managed
that they hope to start operating in areas they have not been to
like Mundri, Yambio and Mvolo in Western Equatorial region due
“There is hope
because we believe that this time this is real peace and we hope
to go to places we have not been able to operate,” said Nyamiri.
South Sudan has a
total of 22,428 local humanitarian workers and an estimated
1,400 international NGO workers.
Pitia Moga of Action Girls Africa, an entity that specializes in
empowerment of the girl child and women, said they are looking
forward to normalization of the security situation to resume
operations in the restive Yei River State bordering Uganda which
has been the epicenter of violence since the renewed fighting in
“We shut down our
operations in Yei due to conflict but now that peace has been
signed we are hoping to go back when things normalize. Most of
the women we were training in Yei have sought refuge in
internally displaced camps,” said Victoria adding they are
planning to go and train women in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
OCHA South Sudan spokesperson told Xinhua, that humanitarians
are still having access to people who need assistance
In September, 65
access incidents were reported, with the majority in Unity,
Central Equatorial and Jonglei, according to OCHA.
civilians were responsible for half (48 percent) of all
incidents, mostly involving robberies, ambushes and operational
interference in Rubkona County and Juba.
humanitarian personnel and assets continues to represent around
half of all reported incidents that stood at 52 percent.