fyeahafrica:

Intensive UN-led efforts are ongoing in newly independent South Sudan to remove landmines. As a result lives are being saved and the huge costs of transportation are going down.

Before 2004 it would take three to four days to travel to Juba from the border towns of Nimule and Kapoeta. Cycling was the safest means of transport. The entire area of what is now South Sudan was a war zone, and was covered with an unknown number of landmines.

Even now that South Sudan is independent, landmines continue to hinder movement, dissuade investors and frighten returning refugees. All 10 states of South Sudan report mine-related injuries and deaths. As of mid-2011, according to the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC), there were a total of 1,243 injuries and 3,158 deaths from landmines.
“UNMACC works with several UN agencies to reduce the threat and impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war throughout South Sudan,” says Sarah Holland, a programme officer with the centre. Besides collaborating with various UN agencies and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the centre works with international and national non-governmental organizations, three commercial contractors and the South Sudan government. As of September 2011, Ms. Holland reports, a total of 4,273 anti-tank mines and 25,487 anti-personnel mines had been destroyed.
In February 2004, the first of the private contractors came into southern Sudan, Mechem, a subsidiary of Denel, the state-run South African arms company. It began mine survey operations near the border with Kenya in anticipation of a peace agreement (which was concluded the following year). Mechem was contracted by the UN Office of Project Services to begin demining work and take advantage of the ceasefire. Around the same time the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) contracted the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) to do the same. The two UN agencies were convinced that demining was the only way to cut the costs of transporting aid into southern Sudan from their bases in Lokichoggio, Kenya.
Jaco Crots, Mechem’s manager in South Sudan, has vivid recollections of when they came in from Lokichoggio. “Owing to the dangers posed by mines, very few vehicles dared to use the road to Juba, as the entire road network into Juba had been planted with mines. No meaningful development could take place here without serious demining,” he recalls.
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fyeahafrica:

Intensive UN-led efforts are ongoing in newly independent South Sudan to remove landmines. As a result lives are being saved and the huge costs of transportation are going down.

Before 2004 it would take three to four days to travel to Juba from the border towns of Nimule and Kapoeta. Cycling was the safest means of transport. The entire area of what is now South Sudan was a war zone, and was covered with an unknown number of landmines.

Even now that South Sudan is independent, landmines continue to hinder movement, dissuade investors and frighten returning refugees. All 10 states of South Sudan report mine-related injuries and deaths. As of mid-2011, according to the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC), there were a total of 1,243 injuries and 3,158 deaths from landmines.

“UNMACC works with several UN agencies to reduce the threat and impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war throughout South Sudan,” says Sarah Holland, a programme officer with the centre. Besides collaborating with various UN agencies and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the centre works with international and national non-governmental organizations, three commercial contractors and the South Sudan government. As of September 2011, Ms. Holland reports, a total of 4,273 anti-tank mines and 25,487 anti-personnel mines had been destroyed.

In February 2004, the first of the private contractors came into southern Sudan, Mechem, a subsidiary of Denel, the state-run South African arms company. It began mine survey operations near the border with Kenya in anticipation of a peace agreement (which was concluded the following year). Mechem was contracted by the UN Office of Project Services to begin demining work and take advantage of the ceasefire. Around the same time the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) contracted the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) to do the same. The two UN agencies were convinced that demining was the only way to cut the costs of transporting aid into southern Sudan from their bases in Lokichoggio, Kenya.

Jaco Crots, Mechem’s manager in South Sudan, has vivid recollections of when they came in from Lokichoggio. “Owing to the dangers posed by mines, very few vehicles dared to use the road to Juba, as the entire road network into Juba had been planted with mines. No meaningful development could take place here without serious demining,” he recalls.

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fyeahafrica:

John Latuma is one of the tens of thousands of South Sudanese stranded in Sudan as they try to make their way home to their newly independent country.

He is stuck in a makeshift camp in Kosti, a port on Sudan’s White Nile hoping to get a barge nearly 1,450km (900 miles) down the river, through the swamps and over the border to Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

“People are stagnant here - no food, no treatment, no drugs - the situation is very bad,” he says.

South Sudan seceded from the north in July, and over the last year more than 340,000 of its new citizens have made the trip home.

But the flow of returnees has slowed, due to money shortages, the dangerous journey and a lack of transport.

Mr Latuma went to Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, 20 years ago during the long north-south civil war, like many South Sudanese.

He has given up his house and job and is now staying in unenviable conditions with some 12,000 other South Sudanese at Kosti, about 300km south of Khartoum, in a way-station designed to hold 1,500 people.

There are not enough toilets, and there are only two clinics providing health services.

One man, Yacob, complains there are not enough drugs.

Although he is on crutches, he insists on hopping through the camp to show me a place he is particularly indignant about, where the shallow pool of slimy water stinks.

The aid agencies would like to put up more buildings to house the influx, but the Sudanese authorities do not want the camp to become permanent.

The numbers here have grown because there are not enough barges to transport all the people wishing to leave.

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