The market in Yambio is bustling with activity as people go about their business of selling and buying goods.
This community in the Western Equatorian region of South Sudan are well aware of the risk posed by COVID-19 and the need to stay physically distant from each other to avoid spreading the virus. But they feel they have no option except to carry on with normal life because not working today means not eating tomorrow for their families.
To help provide at least some protection, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan joined forces with the Catholic Dioceses of Yambio-Tambura to distribute locally produced face masks in communities.
The campaign targeted the most vulnerable people in the suburban markets of Yambio with local sellers appreciated the effort and acknowledging they are at high risk of contracting the virus.
“They helped us by bringing these face masks which we put on our nose and mouth to protect us. If this virus comes through the air, once we cover our nose, it will end at the face mask,” said Yambio resident, Awadia Mahmud.
“By the time we reach home at night, we wash it and leave it to dry, and we put on in the morning. This will protect us very much. Some time ago, we also received a drum which we fill with water and use for washing our hands every morning when we come to the market.”
The UN family is working hard to support the state-wide strategy to protect communities, led by the Western Equatorian High-Level COVID-19 Task Force.
“We are targeting 500 face masks per location and we have four locations in Western Equatoria,” said Emmanuel Dukunane, a Civil Affairs Officer serving with UNMISS in Yambio.
“In Posu market, which is one of the suburbs in Yambio town, we are distributing these face masks, targeting the communities in the market, where the majority are women. These are just to help the population or the women community members here who are vulnerable from contracting COVID-19.”
The provision of face masks is just one of many initiatives being carried out by UNMISS in Western Equatoria to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The peacekeeping mission has also carried out a comprehensive public education campaign in towns and villages across the region to raise awareness about the risks and help local communities can keep themselves and others safe.
Source: UN Mission in South Sudan