The operating environment is difficult, with humanitarian access complicated by the growing number of armed groups. Aid agencies are impacted as they must seek various permissions from different groups that control different areas.
On 26 April, a Medair worker and a volunteer were shot and killed in separate incidents in Leer, Unity.? Ten aid workers were held by an armed opposition group near Yei, Central Equatoria from 25 to 30 April.? Following a violent armed robbery of MSF staff on 24 April in Mundri, Central Equatoria, health care activities for some 75,000 people were disrupted.? On 10 April, the ICRC compound in Leer, Unity state, was attacked by armed men. One ICRC guard was injured. ICRC staff was relocated and livelihoods assistance for over 24,000 people was disrupted.? Seven aid workers were kidnapped by opposition forces in Central Equatoria on 25 March and released on 15 April.?
In April, 80 incidents affecting humanitarian access were reported. 40% of the incidents involved violence against humanitarian personnel or assets. Unity was most affected with 21 incidents. ? In March, 70 incidents affecting humanitarian access were reported. Over half of the incidents involved violence against humanitarian personnel or assets. Central Equatoria was most affected with 20 incidents. In Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal, authorities suspended activities of five organisations due to bureaucratic reasons, which affected the WASH response for some 10,000 people.? In February, 110 incidents affecting humanitarian access were reported, with almost half involving violence against humanitarian personnel or assets. Central Equatoria was most affected with 30 incidents. These incidents disrupted humanitarian operations, notably food and nutrition assistance for thousands of people.?
In 2017, 1,159 access incidents disrupted humanitarian operations, compared to 908 reported in 2016.? 29% of incidents were violence against personnel (killing, looting, threats, harassment, robbery), 25% concerned operational interference, and 18% violence against assets. 10% of incidents were related to bureaucratic impediments, and 9% each concerned restriction of movement and active hostilities.? The number of incidents generally increased throughout 2017, with 64 incidents registered in January and 111 in December. The highest number of monthly incidents, 134, was recorded in July.?
Fighting and insecurity regularly results in the suspension of activity and relocation of staff. In April, at least 74 aid workers were relocated due to insecurity. ? A total of 13 staff were relocated from Koch and Leer counties in January and February.?
In 2017, 612 humanitarian workers were relocated across the country due to ongoing violence. Over 50% of the relocations affected Koch, Leer, and Mayendit in Unity state and Akobo in Jonglei state.? In December, 65 humanitarian workers were relocated due to fighting, which impacted the provision of aid to some 480,000 people in need in Unity, Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Western Bahr El Ghazal.?
Bureaucratic constraints hamper access.? In April, in Western Bahr el Ghazal, authorities imposed new requirements for travel outside Wau town, leading to several NGOs cancelling missions to Bazia in Baggari. ? In Juba, humanitarian agencies have faced challenges in trying to transport cash for humanitarian operations outside of the capital. Authorities have requested new and additional paperwork as well as prevented aid workers from travelling on internal flights at several airports.? In January, the government waived NGO registration fees for one year. However, organisations are still charged a fee for work permits, ranging between 2,000 and 4,000 USD for international aid workers.? In Ulang, Upper Nile, opposition authorities require aid organisations to register and pay a 500 USD fee as well as taxes for aid workers.? WFP reported in September that for a journey from Yambio to Juba, they need to seek 13 different permissions, making logistical processes more lengthy and complicated.?
In December, 66 checkpoints were reported on the Juba-Bentiu road.?
UN monitors have reported that the South Sudanese government used food as a weapon of war in 2017 by blocking life-saving aid in some areas where the government views the civilians as opponents to its agenda.?