UN Honours Pakistani Peacekeepers For 'outstanding' Work In Saving Bentiu, South Sudan, From Floods

UN honours Pakistani peacekeepers for 'outstanding' work in saving Bentiu, South Sudan, from floods

UNITED NATIONS, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 22nd May, 2024) Pakistani peacekeepers serving the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have been honoured with UN medals for their exceptional service in protecting some 300,000 residents of Bentiu, the capital of the country's Unity state, from catastrophic floods, according to a Mission's press release received at UN Headquarters in New York Tuesday.

Numbering 272, the Pakistani Blue-Helmets "worked tirelessly" in building and maintaining dikes which kept 5,600 square kilometers of floodwaters from engulfing the Bentiu Internally Displaced Person camp, which shelters hundreds of thousands of people, as well as the surrounding area, infrastructure, and service providers, the release said.

As their missions comes to an end, the Pakistani unit received a citation for outstanding performance, and 23 blue helmets were awarded the prestigious Force Commander Commendation Card.

Major Saad Sultan, operation officer and recipient of the Force Commander’s Commendation , expressed gratitude for the recognition.

"We worked day and night, often at personal risk.," he said.

'Being recognized with the UN Peace Medals and the Force Commander Commendation Card is a great honour that will always remind me of our service to humanity in South Sudan," Major Sultan added.

Climatic shocks have wreaked havoc and the resultant floods have erased villages and submerged supply routes in every direction, the press release said. "A breach of the dike system would cause catastrophe for the high concentration of people left with no choice but to seek refuge in the sanctuary created by the Pakistani peacekeepers."

An incident in October 2022, when a rupture in the western dike wall threatened disaster, underscored the importance of their work, the release said, adding that Immediate and cooperative efforts saved the camp that night.

"To prevent such an event from occurring again, Blue-Helmets now monitor over 80 kilometres of dikes day and night."

The current unit, building on the work and learnings of previous Pakistani Blue-Helmets, says that under their watch, there have been no breaches in the dike system since October 2022.

Major Hina Naseer, the contingent doctor, said she was proud of the legacy that Pakistani peacekeepers past and present have left in Bentiu.

“We safeguarded thousands of lives from floods, leaving our mark on Bentiu forever," Ms. Nasser said.

UNMISS Force Commander, Lieutenant-General Mohan Subramanian, who attended the ceremony commended the men and women of the Pakistani unit.

“Their efforts, serving in one of the toughest locations, have made immense contributions through effective, economical, and timely completion of critical engineering projects. These altruistic acts speak volumes of their professional commitment," Gen. Subramanian,

The press release said, "Despite the compounded challenges of climate disasters, food crises, conflict, and disease outbreaks, the dedication of the Pakistani peacekeepers remains unwavering. Their efforts have provided a semblance of normalcy and hope to the residents of Bentiu, showcasing the vital role of UN peacekeeping missions in addressing both environmental and humanitarian crises.

"As this unit prepares to welcome the next contingent of Pakistani Army engineers, they leave behind a legacy of safety and resilience in Bentiu."