By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
September 14, 2012 (BENTIU) - Many of the over three thousand people who have been displaced by flooding in from villages around Unity State capital, Bentui - following heavy rainfall from June until September - say they are in deeply need of humanitarian assistance.
- Ariab block 70 villages completely floodwater in Unity State, South Sudan, 12 September 2012 (ST)
Unity State’s government has been forced to deny claims by local citizens that they have not adequate help from the state and humanitarian agencies.
Flooding in Daresalam, Ariab block 70, in the Nyueypiw and Kalibalek areas has affected number of people within Bentiu town. Many houses have been deserted with the displaced claiming they are at risk of contracting malaria and typhoid as well as food shortage since their crops have been completely destroyed by the floods.
Mary Nyanen Reat, a 35-year-old widow, told Sudan Tribune that the area is completely submerged and that there are not enough health care facilities in the area. Reat lost her husband last year in fighting between the military of neighbouring Sudan - the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) - and South Sudan’s Army (SPLA), in Upper Nile State.
Khartoum denies entering or bombing South Sudan, which became independent from Sudan in July last year. Security disputes mean that the border between the two nations has been closed for trade for over a year, severely affecting the economy of border states such as Unity and Upper Nile.
Reat urged on government and non-government ogranisations (NGOs) to speedily assess the situation in areas highly affected by floodwater, so interventions can be made.
“We don’t have proper treatment, not enough food for consumption and our children are suffering from diseases due to flooding, and I call upon government and their partnership NGO’s to consider our problem before we run out of hands”, said Reat.
Reat who takes care of five children after her husband’s death added that many people have registered their names for assistance since July but none receive assistant yet.
Nyaruai Jamah Gatpan resident of Ariab block 70 says many children in the village are sick all time due to the flooding, which has forced many families to abandon their houses around Bentiu town. Gatpan says there is nowhere to report their challenges faced to.
However the Unity State government denies that those affected by the flooding are not being supported. Unity State Deputy Governor Michael Chiengjiek Geay told Sudan Tribune that NGO’s and UN agencies have already registered those that need help in collaboration with State Ministry of Social Development.
Geay dismissed the claims by victims that they had been let down by the response, adding that UN agencies and NGOs have distributed non-food items in some villages and are providing ongoing assistance.
“I have never receive anybody that saying they are not provided with some basic needs up to yesterday I was told that there some UN agencies are doing meeting with local communities in order to provide those who are affected in need with plastic sheets and other basic items”, added Geay.
Geay said that government is doing its best to make sure that communities are protected from natural disasters, adding that some areas were drying out as the end of the rainy season approaches.
However, the government is working with "some construction companies" so better drainage systems are put in place, the Deputy Governor said.
This year floodwater in and around the Sudd marsh has made it difficult for people to produce food especially in counties like Payinjiar, Leer, Mayiandit, Parieng, Mayom and Guit.
The UN estimate that half of South Sudan’s population will be food insecure this year.