Press release: Japan and UNOPS join forces to improve humanitarian access and sanitation in South Sudan

JUBA - The Government of Japan will contribute $4.1 million towards a UNOPS-implemented project that will increase humanitarian access and improve sanitary conditions for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mingkaman, Lakes State, South Sudan.

Mingkaman is one of the largest spontaneous settlement sites in the country, with over 100,000 registered IDPs having fled there, mainly from neighbouring Jonglei State. Despite continued efforts to improve living conditions, humanitarian access to the affected areas is severely hampered by a lack of robust infrastructure, especially during the rainy season, while food insecurity remains a grave problem. 

Since the cost of rebuilding roads is relatively high, a cheap, energy efficient and environmentally friendly alternative transportation method is the river system, in particular the White Nile. This project will construct and develop water infrastructure, such as piers, offloading facilities and storage spaces, enabling UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to deliver crucial humanitarian aid to IDPs, while also reducing food insecurity in Mingkaman. The water-based transport system will further allow such organizations to scale-up their humanitarian and relief operations in a cost-effective and efficient manner, regardless of the season. 

The already fragile sanitary conditions in Mingkaman are deteriorating, due to a sharp increase in the number of IDPs in 2014. As a result, there is an increased risk of outbreaks of infectious and waterborne diseases, which worsen with the onset of the rainy season. To combat this, the project will also establish a drainage system inside the settlement sites in an effort to improve living conditions for the affected population.

Mr. Takeshi Akamatsu, Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan said, "River transport in South Sudan is the key to increase the transportation capacity and to reduce the operational cost of humanitarian assistance. Also, improving sanitary condition prevents another outbreak of Cholera which spread across this country in 2014. I believe that this project will have huge and positive impacts on the people suffering from this protracted conflict." 

Mr. Paul Cruickshank, Director and Representative of UNOPS South Sudan said "We are working in close collaboration with the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and are already mobilizing resources in order to be able to implement this project as quickly and efficiently as possible. UNOPS remains committed to making a significant and positive difference for the South Sudanese people."

It is estimated that some 6.4 million people in the country will be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2015 (South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan 2015, UNOCHA).

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Aiko HINO, Project Manager, UNOPS, Tel:+211(0)954735534, email:

Ms. Hisako ISHIZAKI, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in South Sudan, Tel:+211(0)959003152, email: