Fetching and selling water to restaurant owners and firewood at the Mundri market is the daily routine of Mary Alex to make a living for herself and her eight children.
When I sell water [to the restaurants], I also collect ash there. You can filter it into the liquid salt known as Kombo in local Arabic, so I sell that as well, the entrepreneurial woman says.
Ms. Alex, who is one of approximately 4,000 people from Kediba who are seeking shelter at an informal camp for displaced people in Mundri, spoke to a patrol from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan as it visited the area. She has been here for more than three years.
She wants the government and the opposition to implement the revitalized peace agreement signed in September 2018, because durable peace would allow Ms. Alex and many others to return to their homes.
In recent months, living conditions in the camp have worsened as dwellers haven’t received any food assistance since July last year, nor any land where they can farm for themselves.
Living in there is very bad. I am appealing to leaders of South Sudan to visit us and see the conditions for themselves we are living in, says Assunta Abraham, who recently returned home but is currently visiting her family members who still reside in the camp. She adds, however, that life in her home village is not great either, calling the state of affairs terrible because of lack of basic services.
I went back [to Kediba] and have managed to cultivate a bit because the situation is relatively calm, but the government really should provide security to encourage many more people to return, she says.
Seemingly stuck between a rock and a hard place, Assistant camp manager Alex Ezbon explains that most of the displaced people in the area fear to go back home before the formation of the transitional government of national unity, as stipulated in the revitalised peace agreement.
I don’t want to go home and then run away again to the camp. Once the unity government has actually been established [the current deadline is 22 February], then I will think of going home, he says, adding an appeal to the international community to assist with food and other necessities in the meantime.
Source: UN Mission in South Sudan