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. The rainy season, from July to November, has made 70% of South Sudan inaccessible and airdrops are being used to provide assistance. ?
On 23 July, facilities and property of humanitarian organisations in Bunj, Maban, in Upper Nile, were looted and burned when local protests escalated. Two UN workers were injured during the incident. ?Subsequently, MSF suspended most of its medical activities in the area, which affects the provision of health care to some 88,000 people. ? Several organisations relocated their staff. ?
In June, 59 incidents affecting humanitarian access were reported. Looting affected humanitarian operations in Western Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Western Equatoria, and Jonglei. 59% of the incidents involved violence against humanitarian staff or assets. Unity was most affected with 14 incidents. ? In May, there were 58 incidents affecting humanitarian access, considerably lower than the 80 incidents reported in April, however, the impact of these incidents was significant. Three aid workers were killed in May, 19 were detained, and aid operations were hampered by insecurity, lootings, and interference. Central Equatoria was most affected with 14 incidents. ? 70 incidents affecting humanitarian access were reported in March, down from 110 in February, the monthly peak in 2018 so far. Central Equatoria was the most affected state in both months. These incidents disrupted humanitarian operations, notably WASH, 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.?
Attacks on Aid Workers
Over 100 aid workers have been killed since the conflict began in December 2013. ? 10 aid workers have been killed in 2018 so far. Three aid workers were killed in June in Rubkona and Mayom, Unity. ? On 4 July, UNICEF announced that two trucks carrying education supplies were attacked on the road between Juba and Bor road near Mongalla, with one of the drivers being shot and killed. ?On 10 May, an NGO worker was killed during fighting between government and opposition forces in Koch, Unity. ? On 26 April, a Medair worker and a volunteer were shot and killed in separate incidents in Leer, Unity.?
Fighting and insecurity regularly results in the suspension of activity and relocation of staff. In June, 11 aid workers were relocated from Melut, Upper Nile, due to insecurity. ?
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.?
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. Humanitarian operations in Wau continued to be hampered in May. ? 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 from USD 2,000- 4,000 for international aid workers.? In Ulang, Upper Nile, opposition authorities require aid organisations to register and pay a USD 500 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.?
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.?