World Food Programme repairs dyke to control floods and reconnect isolated communities in Jonglei State

The World Food Programme (WFP) is repairing over 200 dyke breach points along a 90km dyke stretch in Jonglei State, which was damaged by unprecedented levels of floodwaters in 2020. 

The emergency dyke repair implemented in collaboration with Jonglei State’s ministry of physical infrastructure and the community is aimed at controlling, seasonal floods and enable tens of thousands of families displaced by the floods to finally return home. The dykes repair is a precursor to a more substantial works that will need to be completed after this year’s rainy season.

More than 400,000 people were displaced when floodwaters breached the dyke at over 200 points on the Baidit-Jalle-Maibor section, leading to the destruction of homes, crops, and livestock. Unable to return home and with no source of livelihoods, many have been living in temporary shelters in Bor town, the capital of Jonglei State, where they receive humanitarian support from WFP and other Non-Governmental Organisations.

“Repairing the dyke is critical in reconnecting isolated communities,” says Matthew Hollingworth, WFP Representative and Country Director in South Sudan, “It will enable the delivery of food and other forms of assistance to more locations by road and ultimately stimulate economic activities.”

A team of engineers from WFP and others who constructed the dyke in 2005, in partnership with 1,500 local community members has so far repaired 32 breach points on the dyke which has led to the reopening of a 16 km section of the Bor to Baidit road. 

The same team is also repairing other critical transport routes in Jonglei State including the Machol-Cuei to Gadiang road and the Pathai and Verthet bridges in Duk Pajut, which were swept away by floodwaters.

“The dyke and road construction project will prevent both hunger and displacement in Jonglei State,” says Diing Akol Diing, advisor for legal affairs in Jonglei State, “Involving the community in the project gives them a great sense of ownership and partnership.”

The major repair of the dyke which was constructed by WFP in 2005, will open road access for WFP to provide food assistance to communities that were previously cut off by the floods. This reduces the use of costly airdrops which are only used as a last resort to deliver food to communities living in areas that are inaccessible by any other means. 

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