UN THANKS INDIAN PEACEKEEPERS FOR VITAL ROAD REPAIRS IN SOUTH SUDAN
Indian military engineers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) were among five national contingents commended by the United Nations for their vital road repair work in the African country.
“I would like to thank the countries that have sent their engineers to serve the people of South Sudan. Their efforts are improving people’s lives as well as the prospects of South Sudan securing a peaceful and more prosperous future,” said David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS
UNMISS Engineers – from India, Bangladesh, China, Thailand and South Korea — have repaired more than 2500 kilometers of roads to support economic growth and rapprochement so the conflict-affected country can build a peaceful and more prosperous future. They have spent six months working intensively levelling and grading roads as well as repairing supporting infrastructure, such as culverts and bridges. They have focused on major routes from Juba to Bentiu (940km), Juba-Bor-Pibor (400km) and Malakal (200km).
“When South Sudan gained its independence, it inherited infrastructure that was in a dire state with only about 250 kilometers of sealed roads. War and weather have also taken a toll over the years, leaving many roads impassable in the rainy season,” said Shearer. “The efforts of our engineers to rehabilitate major supply routes will make a big difference to people’s lives.”
“We know that when people are able to travel to meet with each other, it is easier to build trust and confidence. In many areas where roads have been improved, we have seen a decrease in violence between groups and an increase in reconciliation and peace-building activities.”
“Many families are also beginning to have the confidence to return to their homes as the security situation improves. Better roads will enable them to travel safely and more easily,” said David Shearer. “Improved access will also encourage trade, create jobs and economic growth.”
“Importantly, humanitarian agencies will be able to reach communities in need and save millions of dollars travelling by road rather than relying on transporting aid by air. UNMISS will also be able to supply its bases and deploy peacekeepers to locations around the country more efficiently and effectively,” Shearer concluded.
India is the second largest contributor of uniformed personnel to South Sudan. Nearly, 2,400 Indian military and police peacekeepers currently serve in the country.