JACOB RUAI The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is financing the renovation and expansion of the airstrip in Rubkona County in the Unity region. When completed, the airport will greatly facilitate the access of humanitarian partners to assist the population in the area.
More than 100,000 people are sheltering at the UN protection of civilians site in Bentiu, where they are receiving food and other essential support from a variety of humanitarian actors.
The airport renovation project, implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), is part of the peacekeeping mission’s efforts to achieve its mandate of protecting civilians and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
UNOPS project manager in Bentiu, Chandima Atapattu, explains that the extension of the runway will allow big aircrafts to land.
“The runway will be extended from 1.2 kilometres to 2.2 kilometres and widened from 25 metres to 45 metres. This will enable landing of big aircrafts like the C130,” Mr. Atapattu said, adding that the estimated cost of the renovation amounts to 7.8 million US dollars.
The Minister of Information in Northern Liech, Lam Tunguar, describes the renovation as the best possible gift to the people in the area.
“We extend our appreciation to UNMISS in general and particularly for this project, which they are executing nicely. This will become lifeline for most of our civil population, and we see Rubkona becoming a hub in the region,” says Mr. Tunguar.
The airport renovation work is expected to be completed in April this year.