Pibor administration pleads with aid workers to stay

Pibor administration pleads with aid workers to stay

Pibor Administrative Area has vowed to protect aid workers and pleaded with the agencies not to evacuate their staff providing services in the area.

On Tuesday, a group of angry youth in the Pibor Administrative Area issued a 72-hour ultimatum to all non-governmental organizations operating in the area to vacate over noncompliance with the 80 percent employment rule.

The move sparked fear among aid workers, forcing some to immediately start leaving the area battered by inter-communal fights and floodings. 

Speaking to The City Review on phone yesterday, Information Minister and Pibor Administrative Area Spokesperson Jay Adangor expressed fear saying the exit of the workers could worsen the humanitarian situation.

Mr. Adangor promised NGOs that efforts were underway to contain the situation and the aid agencies should not evacuate their workers.  

“As a government, we tell those organizations that are supposed to vacate today (Wednesday) to remain in their respective compounds under the protection of the government,” said Mr. Adangor. He went on to add: “…whenever, humanitarian organizations are evacuated from an area, the humanitarian services in that particular area will be affected.”

‘‘…we are trying very hard because that evacuation was not planned by the communities who are receiving the services or by the government.”

Mr. Adangor said the area Chief Administrator was in talks with the UNOCHA in Juba and would travel to Pibor on Thursday to resolve the matter.

“We are asking the humanitarian agencies to remain on the ground [because] the government will guarantee their safety,” he said.

Attacks on NGOs continue to continue to disturb the plan to beef up humanitarian service delivery. 

Last month, disgruntled youth in Renk County of Upper Nile rejected the local authorities’ intervention in their demand for equal employment. This followed May’s attack by the youth on NGO’s compounds forcing them to limit operation in the region.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Acting Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in South Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth expressed deep concern over the continuous threat against aid agencies in the country. 

 “We are here to deliver critical assistance to the most vulnerable people including women, children, and the elderly. I call for the authorities and communities to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel,” said Hollingworth.

Recently, the United Nations called on the South Sudanese government to prioritize the protection of aid workers during a meeting with Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng at the sideline of the UN General Assembly Summit last month in New York.

“Honored to meet with South Sudan VP Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior during UNGA. We discussed the importance of progress on the peace agreement, and I stressed the need for political incuriosity and protection of humanitarian workers,” said Linda Thomas Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the United Nations in a tweet in September.