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Floods displace thousands in Bor

By Deng Ghai Deng

More than 34,000 people had been displaced by recent flooding across the State capital Bor, State government confirmed.

Ngong Alier, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission coordinator for Bor County said more than thirty-four thousand (34000) people had been displaced by the new wave of floods in Bor town.

Alier said most of the people displaced by the floods were camping in the open areas and under some streets.

 “The affected areas now are Hai-Machuor, Lekyak, Panapet, Arek, Malou and Block town which is affected in one part. We have identified those areas and we are calling on the government and humanitarian agencies to intervene. We want the government to help relocate these people who are displaced and provide security for them.  And we are calling on the humanitarian agencies to provide the people with food and shelter materials,” Alier said.

Asar Mohamed, IOM employee in Jonglei state said he was aware of the flooding and IOM had provided three escalators to help in the rehabilitation of the Dyke. 

“We are already aware. Our team has been here for the last 15 days. We have been working and looking around, so the situation is not as bad as 2020. We have deployed two escalators to make sure that there is mechanical support in terms of building dyke. At the same time, we have given sand bags and tools to the community who are involved in repairing this dyke,” Mohamed said.

Some Bor residents and activists blamed the second wave of floods on reluctance by state officials to repair a dyke on River Nile.

John Mayol, a Bor resident said that knowing that flooding was eminent, the Jonglei state officials would have mobilized resources to repair the dyke, which was built to prevent the Nilefrom overflowing.

“It’s very unfortunate that the people are being displaced again by the flood because nobody responded. What I mean is that there has never been intervention before the water level rose. Something should have been done in dry season because the existing dyke was not in good shape which means it was supposed to be recompacted and another soil added on it, but no one did it. The (state) government is fully in place with all its structures but the never contributed to preventing the flood,” Mayol said.

Diing Akol, the chairperson of Jonglei state floods management committee said, “The area of Panapet is the place where we need urgent support to close the three breakages. We have already deployed one machine in Panapet now but the machine couldn’t reach because the water level is very high.”

“So, we need to close those 3 breakages then the machine will go after that. We are requesting all the youth of Bor to move to that side. That’s what they have been doing and they are the ones who protected the town for the last two years in 2019 and 2020. Machine is a support but the youth are the engine, they are the ones who can do that.”

The residents and activists accusedtop state officials of spending most of their time in Juba hotels rather than at their duty stations solving problems facing the people.

But Antipas Nyok, the Jonglei State deputy governor said Jonglei State government was working with its partners including the Kingdom of the Netherlands to try to mitigate the flooding.

“We are extremely happy this morning to receive the ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands. We discussed a couple of issues with the ambassador especially things to do with the floods management issues and programs which were also ongoing which are part of the support of the government of Netherlands to the people of this town and the state at large,” he said.

Jelte Van Wieren, ambassador of Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Sudan, visited the flood affected areas in Bor on Monday. Speaking to reporters, Wieren promised that Netherlands would work with state authorities to prevent further flooding in the area.

“We have seen and discussed the emergency situation the people are facing with the overflow of water from the river and the possible solution to that. We are very happy that we can give them an update on where we are in our plan to start a cooperation program with the people of Bor to improve the water management in this area,” he said.

According to the United Nations, more than a million people were affected by floods in South Sudan from July 2020 to 31 January 2021. The urgent needs of flood-affected people included food and livelihood support, emergency shelter and non-food items, water, sanitation and hygiene, health and protection services.

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