Civilian safety is often a challenge in many parts of South Sudan. The road from Wau to Bisellia is known for its regular threats to security, bouts of fighting and ambushes. This route has been difficult to travel since 2013 because of this instability; not only for the residents in the surrounding areas but also for those organisations conducting clearance activities.
The need for a safe and secure road is fundamental to the welfare of the surrounding communities. This route to Bisellia is key to providing access for humanitarian support. TDI, known amongst civilians for the clearance efforts implemented around South Sudan, has been active along this route since November 2018.
The road from Wau to Bisellia is littered with unexploded ordnance from mortar bombs to anti-tank mines. Before beginning their clearance efforts in late 2018, TDI teams conducted extensive Mine Risk Education (MRE) sessions in various at-risk areas, including schools in the vicinity of the main road.
At one of the schools that the TDI teams visited, several items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) were found after a student informed the head teacher. The MRE sessions have proved successful in this instance, exposing the risks of these hazards to vulnerable children. TDI removed the identified mortar bombs while continuing to inspect and clear the surrounding area.
As of December 2018, 31km of road had been assessed, with suspected hazards identified and marked along the route. This process is well on its way to completion.
Once civilians in the surrounding areas became aware of the clearance efforts conducted by TDI, their confidence in using the route grew. There is also a discernible improvement in the welcome TDI has since received, as our teams are working along the route to maintain peace and protect the civilians residing there.