Boys, girls, women and men - everyone appreciated the road rehabilitation work done by UNMISS engineering troops. Photos: Zejin Yin/UNMISS
ZEJIN YIN/FILIP ANDERSSON
Roads. All of them are equal, but some are more equal than others. Roads come in all sizes and conditions, but their length is not always what matters most.
Consider a route that connects traders and people across Abyei, one part of Sudan and the states of Unity and Warrap, linking Unity's economic and humanitarian hub Abiemnon with the other areas mentioned, ending in Ajakuac in Warrap. Measuring a mere 17 kilometre, for the last six months floods have rendered it impassable, causing all sorts of problems for traders, aid workers and relatives wanting to visit one another.
Last week, however, residents of the region received news worth relishing: this vital stretch of the route has been transformed into a passable piece of relative beauty, much to the delight of thousands of road users.
"The renovation work done by these Chinese peacekeepers means that we are now all connected again. This is great as it will no doubt boost development in the area," said an ecstatic Kur Chok, Administrator of the Abiemnon community when the piece of quality engineering was handed over to the authorities.
The hardworking road rehabilitators belong to the Chinese Mechanical Engineering Company serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Their achievement is even more noteworthy when taking into consideration that the critical stretch they made passable again is located in the conflict-prone area between Twic County and Abyei.
"The road we constructed is directly related to the residents' daily travel, and their access to both supplies and emergency medical care. Despite the difficulty of the procedure, we are pleased that our work will benefit the local community," said Chinese Lieutenant Ll Hongyan, pledging his contingent's continued assistance to other communities in needs.
Another UNMISS military contingent, the one from Bangladesh, played a critical role in the road rehabilitation, as it provided force protection for the engineering troops at work.