JAMES OKELLO/LENI KINZLI
For the past month, graders, excavators, dump trucks and other heavy machinery have been humming and whirring throughout Torit in eastern South Sudan. They have been doing so with a purpose: to rehabilitate the town’s main road, as part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s concerted, proactive and robust efforts to create the conditions for durable peace and development.
Reaching the Kinate River Bridge, a key water collection point, passing the Torit market and Freedom Square, extending to the edge of the town’s center, the road is the main vein running through the town. It is key to its economic and social activities, but till recently has found itself in deplorable conditions.
When the UN peacekeeping mission began its maintenance work, the road was full of potholes, deep pits, bumps, and patchy surfaces. The conditions made travel through town challenging, forcing drivers to slow their vehicles to a crawl, and making it difficult for traders in the town to transport goods.
After a month of work, it is a different story altogether. The thoroughfare is once again smooth and easy to pass, to the delight of traders and other locals alike.
“The road has been improved from the UN field office up to the Kinate River. It is now in good condition. This will help traders to transport their goods,” Mubarak Abdallah Mohammed Adam, owner of a local convenience store in the centre of town, commented.
Edward Juma Ohide, assistant manager of Joseph and Brothers Carpentry, said the nimble roadwork will contribute to development.
“The road was very bad, but the improvements will help stimulate development. I appreciate the [work of] UNMISS and hope they will continue with their support,” he said.
John Savio Otwor, State Minister of Physical Infrastructure, is equally impressed and grateful.
“It will improve the economy because when supplies come it will be easier for traders to carry goods from one place to another within the markets in Torit town,” he said.
More infrastructure work by the peacekeeping mission’s Torit office is to be expected. As part of the Mission’s Quick Impact Projects, robust work to rehabilitate the town’s B-Court and construct water and sanitation facilities is already ongoing, and the Torit airstrip will soon receive a helping hand with its drainage system as well. Once finished, both aircrafts and passengers will find travelling through the endless skies of Eastern Equatoria and beyond a lot easier.