Juba: Panaaru Community Resilient Remains Immutable by Ater Garang Ariath

Dinka Panaaru resilience remained unchallengeable despite huge ramification that left by the ongoing war in South Sudan on wide range developmental sectors for just sprout institutions after South Sudanese attain hard won independence following many decades of civil wars that ravaged almost existing institutions.

Particularly Unity State, which is one of other two states that are badly engulfed by uncalled for rebellion while  interact with several  officials  reaffirmed negative impact that left by ongoing war  and it will take years for South Sudan to rehabilitate and heal wound that nurtured and bed- seated  by South Sudanese politicians.

The political mayhem in the country, aftermath of the rebellion led by former Vice President Riek Machar, have leftward most of various counties in Unity state unstable and fragile to resisted this political turmoil,  as  result schools  and health sectors were badly affected .

Upon visited Parieng  County recently for the second time since  February 2013 when South Sudanese journalists were sponsored  by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to visited most of their project sites in Unity State,  which led us proceeded to extreme border parts of Parieng County of (Wun Kur Payam) approximately six hours drive from county headquarters.

People  of Parieng express their  resilience and assured strong commitment to play greater role in restoring  peace and unity in their state (Unity)  and South Sudan as nation at large,  maintaining that South Sudanese should  buried  their  differences in different forms and focus on nation –building.

We are at the extreme end of South Sudan border, Peace among our communities and neighbouring country of Sudan will be a greater asset to us as community of Parieng , therefore,  international community and regional bodies should exert more pressure on rebel leaders so that they give peace a chance ,  Parieng  County Advisor  William Wien Maker.

The uncalled for rebellion in the country affect many institutions in Unity state, especially infrastructure,  education, health and even oil production , since most of oil wells were shut down by the government due to insecurity that led to evacuation of oil workers , such as Athoony  oil production unit in Parieng .

               Education sector

Mabek Them Nyok Parieng County Education Director said pupils of Primary schools across Unity State have missed primary leaving examination, which was scheduled to take place on 16 December 2013 according to the calendar and fighting erupted on 15 December 2013 which halted the exam.

Parieng county education has facing many daunting challenges imposed on us by political crisis , nevertheless , we are trying our level best to maintain all schools within Parieng running ,  while the rest of education in Unity State are operating in Juba ,  Nyok  emphasized.

We are so thankful to International non-governmental organizations, like of Windle Trust International that always offer training among our teachers, especially skilled them in English course and United Nations agencies such as UNICEF which offer sort of school materials to our schools ,  Nyok added.

We travel to Juba sometimes to follow up educational related issues, which are so difficult, but we managed to engage non-governmental organizations and UN agencies that are operating here to support us with pertinent schools material.

The Commissioner of Parieng and education administration decided to promote those primary candidates who missed examination in 2013 to form one,  waiting for any examinations that the State Ministry of education headquarters prepare if normalcy assured in Bentiu,  the capital of Unity State.

The education authority lamented that 273 pupils have missed examination last year and it likely the same thing will happen this year, because education is one of institutions badly hit by conflict in Unity State, which forced many schools to operate in Central Equatoria State.

The issue of low salary among teachers played a negative role in education in Parieng and highly educated teachers resorted to work with organizations and United Nations agencies in the area, which afford all their needs, Education coordinator noted.

The county has 14 primary schools and two High schools run by government, beside refugees’ schools run by UN agencies and organizations.

                Health

Health care system  in the area is one of institutions  underwent enormous challenges,  even health officials  from national and state level never bother to visit Parieng county for irrational fear  of insecurity,  of which the officials and community leaders assured that Parieng will never and cannot fall under rebel control as long as spirit of being  community of Panaaru exist.

Upon visiting a health care center in the area run by Care South Sudan an international organization which is operating in Parieng County, where the senior Medical Officer Joseph Justin gave insight information on what they are offering and their expectations.

This health facility is entirely run by Care South Sudan program, we started in 2012 as Primary Health Care Unit (PHCU) offering antenatal care, labour ,  nutrition and EPI  service,  such as  immunization of children and pregnant mothers,   Justin explain.

The health facility now increased its units, laboratory  is now established together with emergency operation theatre, whereby serious cases are taking care of , because Parieng county is on extreme border between South Sudan and Sudan which need its full-fledged services due to distance with other main towns in the country,  said Justin.

The Care International South Sudan program done beautiful thing to this community, of which its footprint will never be forgotten here, two medical officers, five midwives, two laboratory technicians, three attendants, six nurses and other supporting staff in Parieng Primary Health Care Unit are fully under care of this organization, he emphasized.

The commonly cases are upper and lower respiratory infection, malaria, skin diseases and urinary infection  with capacity of treating  600-800 patients per week,  medical officer underscored .

The drugs are supply by the Care International South Sudan and sometime State Ministry of Health, adding that the government should upgrade Parieng Primary Health Care Unit into Hospital, because Care International South Sudan will one day rollout it supporting programs here, Justin asserted.

We are looking forward to upgrade this Primary Health Care Unit and increases it capacity , especially in term of establishing more wards , therefore,  now we have mortality and patient wards that need expansion in addition to training of more medical personnel especially here in Parieng, said Justin.

Medical capacity building among youth is essential to be encouraged and our national Ministry of Health in Juba should ensure this, because sons and daughters in medical field in Parieng are very few, Justin revealed.

         Environment

The community of Parieng expresses fear of desertification, blaming refugee’s community hosted in Yida and Ajuongthok camps respectively in contribution to this due to mass cut down of trees for charcoals.

The Director of Agriculture and Forestry of Parieng County  Mayar Monyjok Bayak reaffirmed that Sudanese refugees displaced by extensive conflict in two states of South-Kordofan and Blue Nile of Sudan hosted in Parieng area are engaging in mass cut down of trees .

They are even cutting down trees, which are not allow by law ,however , we met several time with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee authority  in order to iron this dispute , but nothing has been change,  Mayar said.

On the hand ,  the issue of oil leakage at Athoony oil production unit has contributed to environmental hazard,  people and livestock including  fish are dying,  because the overflowed oil mix with water and the area is swamp ,  of which this water is source of living here in the area,  said official.

The Commissioner of Parieng  Monylang Minyiel Thon and the county Advisor William  Wien Maker upon visiting the area took the author to Athoony oil production unit , which connected twelve  oil wells in the area and well number twelve was completely busted and many other are likely to destroy,  if possibly intervention is delayed by Ministry of Petroleum and Mining as well as oil companies,  which run from the area due to insecurity fear.

The security in the area is stable and there is no logic to keep these oil facilities close, said the Commissioner, calling upon the national government delegation from Juba to visit the area so that they acquaint with the situation over there.

           Water crisis

The clean water shortage in the area has been a problem for many years, local residents said; describing that Parieng county headquarters has only six boreholes and among these boreholes only one that is operating and other five is broken.

The Commissioner also confirmed the shortage of boreholes, calling upon the oil companied to fulfill their social responsibilities development programs pledges of which communities affected by oil exploration are compensated indirectly by bringing services.

Most communities in nine payams drink open water from swampy, which cause many waterborne diseases among them, only refugees’ camps run by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which clean water is provided with risk of overpopulation.

Security

The security of Parieng is remaining serene, but the communities are heavily armed as part of their self-defense against rebel forces in State.

Commissioner of Parieng reaffirmed that stability that they have in the area is result of community commitment to distance them from former Vice President Rebellion, which is also the son of that State, shared between Dinka Panaaru and Nuer.

The SPLA forces are on border, but the security of the community is safeguarded by armed youth who sometime back up the national army in fighting rebel forces.

           Trade

The trade between Parieng other counties in Unity State was cut due to insecurity on the other side and most of their supply come from Juba by air and led to triple of prices in the market.

Parieng shared border with Sudan and there is no official border trade between South Sudan and Sudan due to bad relation that the two countries sought after the proclamation of South Sudan independence.

If border trade resume it will be more blessing among communities of Parieng , because most of their goods came from Sudan and that why the Ministry of Interior Directorate of Nationality,  Passport and Immigration  established it branch in the area recently.