In 2019, the overall humanitarian access to affected people improved, partly due to the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in late 2018. A total of 535 access incidents were reported, compared to 760 incidents in 2018, although many access constraints remained under-reported. However, the operational environment for humanitarians remained challenging due to a relative increase in bureaucratic access impediments. Over half of all incidents involved violence against humanitarian personnel and assets. A third of all incidents occurred in Central Equatoria. Close to 50 per cent of incidents were attributed to State security forces and civilian authorities. Three aid workers were killed in Morobo County, Central Equatoria, while delivering humanitarian assistance. A total of 129 humanitarians were relocated due to insecurity, the most significant incident being the relocation of 26 INGO staff from Maban County, Upper Nile, following a number of intrusions, assaults and theft. The main causes of staff relocations were inter-communal violence and cattle raiding in Upper Nile, Unity and Lakes. Forty-seven staff were detained, which impacted the speed of humanitarian operations.
Humanitarians were requested to pay bribes by both State and non-State actors, which led to the detention of staff and threats of eviction. Humanitarian operations were disrupted by active hostilities and military operations in Mundri East and Yei in Western and Central Equatoria, and Maiwut and Panyikang in Upper Nile. Clashes between the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army-in-Opposition forces in Maiwut led to activities being suspended and staff evacuations. Conflict in Kajo-Keji, Lainya, Morobo and Yei counties in Central Equatoria between SSPDF and National Salvation Front led to a number of health workers being killed, the suspension of humanitarian operations and delivery of critical health services. Looting of humanitarian supplies continued to be a challenge in 2019. There were also physical access constraints such as the poor state of roads following the unusually heavy flooding. Moderate access gains were noted in Greater Baggari in Western Bahr el Ghazal. Humanitarians were also able to reach affected people by road and river in Jonglei and Upper Nile. A reduction in road blocks was reported along major roads in Juba, Rumbek-Wau and Unity. Sporadic fighting and security operations disrupted road movements in areas such as Yei, Lainya and Mundri East. Humanitarian organizations were able to visit Ezo, Nagero and Tambura counties in Western Equatoria freely for the first time since 2016. Security restrictions to Pagak, Maiwut County, were lifted, which enabled humanitarian flights to Pagak and Maiwut to resume for the first time since 2017.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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