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Greater Bahr el Ghazal seeks assistance for over 15,000 flood victims

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September 13, 2013 (AGOK, Abyei) - Authorities and community leaders from South Sudan’s greater Bahr el Ghazal region are soliciting support for over 15,000 people affected by floods.

A flooded area in South Sudan’s Unity state September 11, 2012 (ST)

Since June, the region has been experiencing heavy rains that have displaced thousands, destroyed settlements and crops.

Warrap state, officials say, is the worst flood-hit area with 10,000 people displaced, followed by Unity (8,355), Upper Nile (8,000) and Northern Bahr el Ghazal (5,882). Also affected are parts of Lakes, Central and Eastern Equatoria states.

Floods, the deputy of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state said, compelled local people to abandon their settlements as they could no longer afford to live in areas submerged by rising water levels.

“People have been forced to leave their homes because it was becoming difficult to live there anymore. Their crops have been destroyed. They have been submerged by water. Their houses are gone. Their food and everything else is gone,” said Salva Chol Ayat.

"The livelihood of most of our people depends on crops which have now been affected", he added.

The government, he further said, held a meeting with humanitarian partners at which it was agreed that an assessment be carried out to ascertain the actual needs of those affected.

“As a government, we visited the affected areas, held meeting with them and gave our support. We visited Aweil North, Aweil centre and all the areas, which have been affected. We held meeting with our partners,” Ayat told Sudan Tribune.

We have carried out preliminary assessments and extended our findings to the national government, he further disclosed.

The deputy governor, however, expressed concerns that the floods could directly impact on peoples’ health, in addition to destroying infrastructures, crops, properties, among others.

South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir announced on Thursday that his government had allocated seven million South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) in support of over 223,000 people recently affected by flooding.

Experts from the water ministry say flooding mainly occurs during the rainy season, usually from June through to September.

"Our experiences have been that the rivers bring heavy sediment load from water catchments. These, coupled with inadequate carrying capacity of the rivers, are responsible for causing of floods, drainage congestion and erosion of river banks”, Martin Sabit, a water engineer told Sudan Tribune on Friday.

Constructions of some roads without drainage are another contributing factor, he added.

Deng Kuel Kuel, head the state relief and rehabilitation agency said all efforts were underway by authorities to mobilise support for affected families.

"The issue of flood is one of the issues which have been discussing all this time. The deputy governor and I visited all the affected areas. We visited Aweil North and held meeting with the county commissioner. It is a serious issue", said Kuel.

At least five counties, he added, have been severely affected by floods, putting the numbers of those displaced in Aweil North county alone at over 4,000.

“In our visit to Aweil North county with the acting governor, Salva Chol Ayat, we received reports indicating that 4,337 people have been affected in the four payams [districts] and some reports were still coming”, he said.

WARRAP SITUATION

Twic county commissioner, Biar Biar Riing has also pledged support for those affected by floods in his area of Warrap state.

“The local population needs to be sensitised so that they are aware of the danger associated with settling in flood prone areas. This will not be done by the county authorities alone. It will require help from not only the state and the national government, but also our friends and humanitarian organisations”, Riing told Sudan Tribune.

We need their support to stand with us so that our affected populations are rescued, he added.

(ST)

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