Thirty-five humanitarian access incidents were reported in January. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) involved violence against humanitarian personnel and assets. This represents a reduction in violent incidents as compared to the 2018 monthly average of 52 per cent. Bureaucratic impediments, on the other hand, nearly tripled from the 2018 monthly average of 12 per cent. They accounted for a third (31 per cent) of all incidents in January and included substantial delays and blockages related to importation, fees at check-points and staff taxation. State civilian authorities and criminals or unknown perpetrators were responsible for half of all access incidents. Eleven incidents (31 per cent) were significant in severity, including the detention and relocation of staff, commandeering of vehicles and convoy blockages.
The security situation in Ulang, Upper Nile, resulted in the relocation of 38 humanitarian staff from the area and minor disruptions to programmes. Non-state authorities in Jikmir, Upper Nile, claimed there were new exit clearances required from the security officials. This resulted in one aid worker being arbitrarily detained by the non-state authorities and held in a pit in the ground in Mandeng. State security forces detained two staff in Yei town and confiscated funds meant to pay incentives to volunteers working at Ebola screening points in Otogo County. The deterioration in security in Central Equatoria due to heavy fighting continued. This negatively impacted on humanitarian movement and Ebola preparedness in areas such as greater Morobo, Otogo and Mukaya counties. Humanitarians were not able to reach around 23,000 people around Yei. Humanitarian supplies were blocked at border entry points following the December 2018 republican order on import duties and unclear definition of humanitarian goods. While the backlogged goods started to flow by the end of the month, some items remained contested, such as vehicles. An increasing number of checkpoints and fees demanded were reported along the Juba-Bentiu corridor with an average of 700,000 South Sudanese pounds (around US$4,500) per truck being paid across an estimated 57 checkpoints. This contradicted the 2017 republican order for free and unhindered movement of humanitarian assistance convoys, and has delayed the dry season pre-positioning of lifesaving supplies. Operational interference and bureaucratic impediments continued to hinder response in both state and non-state areas, such as Fangak, Juba, Nasir and Rubkona. In Yirol East in Lakes, inter-communal violence prevented health teams from conducting a reactive measles campaign.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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