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South Sudan: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (March 2017)


March 2017 was a dangerous and deadly month for humanitarians in South Sudan. Seven aid workers were killed, including six murdered on 25 March in an ambush on the Juba-Pibor road and a health worker killed in an ambush in Yirol East on 14 March while responding to the cholera outbreak. In Upper Nile, a humanitarian was allegedly arrested and beaten by SPLA soldiers in Malakal town, while in Aburoc aid workers were threatened and beaten by iO officials. In Unity, teachers were reportedly forcibly recruited by armed actors in Guit, causing the closure of at least one school and impacting the education of over 500 children. Active hostilities forced the withdrawal of humanitarian staff from Leer, Ayod and Twic East and involved looting of humanitarian assets. In Mayendit, humanitarian supplies-from essential medicines to hospital beds and solar panels-were looted during clashes, and aid workers were detained then subsequently released by iO actors. In Upper Nile, after several denials, humanitarians were permitted by state authorities to access Wau Shilluk, where they found substantial damage to their facilities. One partner estimated their losses to be more than $200,000. Following extensive looting in February, one humanitarian organization suspended their operations in Nyirol County in March. Bureaucratic impediments and operational interference remained a concern, with at least two instances of state officials attempting to insert themselves into humanitarian recruitment processes, and two instances of authorities ordering specific staff to leave their areas (in Raja (government) and Panyijiar (iO)). In Terekeka, an aid worker was arrested by county authorities who had demanded that humanitarian supplies be kept in their stores. On 24 March, iO authorities introduced new landing fees and procedures for humanitarian flights. There were, however, positive developments during the month, with the first food distribution by road to the Greater Baggari area outside of Wau for more than six months completed on 11 March, the first humanitarian assessment outside of Yei reaching Goli and Tore on 31 March, and an assessment to previously inaccessible areas in and around Wonduruba on 29 March.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
10 Apr 2017
Map/Infographic Type: 
Humanitarian Snapshot
South Sudan
Humanitarian Access