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Quarterly Humanitarian Access Snapshot: Jan-March 2020

In the first quarter of 2020, humanitarian access continued to improve across South Sudan with a decrease in clashes between armed groups, attributed to the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in February. A total of 170 humanitarian access incidents were reported in the first three months of the year, an 18 per cent increase from the 144 incidents reported in the same period in 2019, mainly due to localized inter-communal violence in areas that had not witnessed active armed conflict before. Despite the relative access improvements, an upswing in inter-communal violence, particularly in Jonglei and Lakes, severely impacted humanitarian operations. More than 113 aid workers—59 from Pibor and 23 from Nyirol in Jonglei, and 20 from Rumbek North in Lakes—were relocated as a result of escalating tensions. Looting of humanitarian supplies by community members and armed youth groups during the inter-communal violence was a major setback to meet the needs of 5.6 million people targeted with assistance or protection across the country, particularly in Pibor and Rumbek counties. In Yei, Central Equatoria, soldiers reportedly vacated public facilities including a health facility and a primary school. As access by road improved, February saw a notable upsurge in ambushes and roadside attacks on humanitarian personnel and humanitarian convoys across the country. A total of 24 ambushes were reported in the first quarter of 2020, compared to 15 incidents recorded in the same period of 2019. The majority of incidents was recorded in the Kapoeta and Rumbek corridors. In Cueibet County, Lakes, international non-governmental organization (NGO) staff were ambushed by unidentified armed men while travelling on the Tonj-Cueibet road and two staff were seriously injured. In Pibor, one aid worker was killed at a roadblock along the Pibor-Gumuruk road manned by unknown armed youth, bringing the number of aid workers killed in South Sudan since the conflict began in 2013 to 116. Humanitarian organizations continued to face pressure from authorities, particularly in several locations in Jonglei, for remittance of tax to the former 32 states.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
23 Apr 2020
Map/Infographic Type: 
Humanitarian Access Maps
South Sudan
Humanitarian Access