South Sudan President Salva Kiir has appealed for humanitarian assistance after heavy floods recently claimed several lives, destroyed properties and displaced people from various homes in several parts of the country.
“With thousands of people in dire need presently across the country, I am calling upon our humanitarian partners to work with the ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management to provide short-term assistance to those affected by these floods as we work to find a permanent solution to these natural disasters,” he said on Wednesday.
The South Sudanese leader cited deaths in Northern Bahr El Ghazal state where women, elders, and children are reported to have died after drowning in water. Others died after a local boat carrying elderly people attempting to cross local streams capsized last week.
Footages showed Governor Tong Aken Ngor and his entourage wading through water and, at times, standing to console women whose properties have been inundated and destroyed by water. Crops have been submerged, raising prospects of hunger next year.
“I am alarmed by the news of widespread floods affecting communities in different parts of the country. My office has been informed that seven (7) people have died in Majak-baai, Northern Bahr el Ghazal state due to floods-related drowning. On behalf of the government, I convey my heartfelt condolences to their families, said president Kiir in a statement on Wednesday. Today, I remember and stand in solidarity with families who have lost their loved ones to flood and its related hazards”, explained the president.
He said his government would undertake measures to address the issue of floods which have been affecting the country. Kiir, however, expressed doubt about how effective the measures his administration would unveil without affecting the ecological system.
“Given the persistent nature of these floods, the government has placed its focus on finding long-term solutions that will balance flood control and wetland protection. We consider this approach sensible despite the fact that it will not ease the current flood problem immediately. We hope the measures we are taking will address flooding without creating an ecological imbalance down the road”, stressed the statement.
The South Sudanese leader’s statement did not, however, elaborate on the measures.
Multiple officials speculate the measures could be an indication he wants to defy public views preferring scientific studies before dredging the Nile and its tributaries.
Authorities in South Sudan’s Upper Nile region and humanitarian organizations have issued reports indicating heavy rains and subsequent flash floods have caused massive damage to infrastructure, roads and electricity as well as communications networks.
The officials, nonetheless, assured the commitment of the state government to working together with local authorities to bring normalcy back as soon as possible but that government alone cannot do it without external support.