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Floods left 31 people dead in Upper Nile’s Maban County

By James Gatdet Dak

October 28, 2008 (JUBA) – 31 people were reported dead this week in Upper Nile state’s eastern County of Maban after floods devastated a number of Payams in the area, according to a press release issued on Monday by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).

The Director for Special Programmes (Disaster Management) in the Ministry, Goi Yol, who returned to Juba on Sunday after estimating the damages caused by the flooding, said the situation was desperate as tens of thousands of people were already displaced and in dire condition.

He said about 80% of the County’s headquarters was submerged while five bridges connecting it to its neighbor counties and payams were also destroyed and washed away, cutting off supply of consumer goods from Melut and Renk counties.

A separate death toll was reported in Khor El Ahmer (Red Stream) Payam, where 25 people died after they drank from a pond. A sample of the water was collected for medical analysis.

Yol said a five-member team that included representatives of the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC), UN agencies and NGOs had landed in Maban on Saturday for more assessment of the situation in preparation for humanitarian response.

A State of Emergency was declared by the Governor of Upper Nile state last week after widespread flooding was forecasted in the state’s eastern counties as Yabus streams and Sobat river tributaries burst their banks as a result of heavy rain falls in Ethiopia and Sudan.

Similar flooding is expected this year for other states that include Jonglei, Unity, Warrap and Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

GoSS and UN agencies are expected to conduct a joint meeting on Thursday to discuss how best to respond to the looming situation.