Many shops in Abyei remain locked as covid-19 pandemic upends life

Some of the goods sold in Aniet market | Credit: Miyen Ayuong Ajuong | AIRS 2020

Many business places in Abyei have been closed and more are on the verge of being locked as the Covid-19 hits hard the economy.

Inflation rate is uncontrollable increasing as the local currency depreciates against foreign currency. $1 trades at about 600 SSP in the black market, leading to abnormal hike in the market prices. With the dwindling daily cash, most retailers could not withstand the economic onslaught and had to give up the fight. 

Sadia Malei, a mother who owns a restaurant in Aniet market-her sole source of income  said her business continues to decline even after the ease of Covid-19 restrictions. 

“Many people have now closed their businesses and the reason is that there is no saving that can support you. Before Corona, we used to save an amount equivalent to $ 200 which you can send to a child who is studying far away, but now there is nothing you can send or even support someone living with you,” said Malei.

Chairman Chamber of commerce in Abyei, Chol Deng Chol says the impact of the pandemic has forced many traders to lock their shops because they were incurring losses.

Estimating the number of shops that are currently closed in Aniet market as 50 percent, Deng said the impact of the pandemic is “so huge.”

“If it doesn’t go, I don’t know people will survive because the business is coming down due to prices shooting up. So, if things continue hiking, the more losses will be incurred,” said Deng.

Medics from Save the Children encourage people not to give up business but cautioned them to observe heath guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus

“If you protect your customers, you will have customers and you will earn money,” said Dr. Jomama One Jomama, Health Program, Save the Children International, Abyei.

Abyei has 52 confirmed cases of covid-19 including 2 deaths and 50 recoveries. Dr. Ramsey Muorwel from Save the Children warned people against defying health guidelines.

“There is corona. You only know it when it has infected you. You have to protect yourself and your customers. You need to suspicious of one another as if he will give you the disease. Like this you will have protected yourself,” said Dr. Morwel.

As of Sunday, there were 57,882,183 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1,377,395 deaths across the globe, reported to (WHO) World Health Organization.