South Sudan: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (December 2018)
Thirty-seven humanitarian access incidents were reported in December, of which nearly half (46 per cent) involved violence against personnel and assets. The vast majority of total incidents (65 per cent) occurred in Upper Nile, Jonglei and Central Equatoria. The three counties that experienced the highest number of incidents – Rubkona, Maban, and Fangak – were largely related to bureaucratic impediments and threats, intimidation and harassment of staff. Ten incidents were significant in severity, involving ongoing bureaucratic impediments in the Sobat area, and conflict in Yei and Lainya which forced the suspension of humanitarian activities.
A Presidential Republican Order was issued to reinforce customs excise and duties on imported goods. While humanitarian relief items are exempted, partners are starting to experience delays and challenges due to the subjectivity of what constitutes humanitarian items at border entry points. This is expected to impact negatively on dry season preparedness and ongoing humanitarian programming. A significant decline in road security in Central Equatoria due to heavy fighting and at least three serious attacks and abductions of civilians using public transportation has restricted humanitarian movement. As a result, UN travel restrictions were placed on the Yei-Tore, Yei-Lasu and Yei-Kaya roads. The growing insecurity has negatively affected on Ebola Virus Disease screening and other humanitarian activities. The security situation and alliances within the Equatorias remain fluid, making it challenging to manage risks to the safety and security of humanitarian staff. Following the significant reports of rape cases around Bentiu in Unity, State civilian and security authorities have begun to interfere with partners working on health, protection and gender-based violence. This includes the restriction of staff movement and new requirements to obtain approvals before implementing any related activities. This is expected to severely impact on partners’ ability to effectively deliver services to people in critical need. Despite the November issuance of a directive by Dr. Riek Machar to put on hold previous requirements on humanitarians working in areas controlled by the opposition, significant operational interference, bureaucratic impediments, harassment and detention of staff continues in the New Fangak area. This will affect at least 45,000 people if partners are forced to suspend food security, WASH and nutrition programming. In Western Equatoria, humanitarian access has improved as movement restrictions have been lifted on the Yambio-Tambura road.