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Jonglei’s capital in state of emergency after the Nile burst its banks

Deng Machol
Flood water raced through the town of Bor, capital of Jonglei State, last week displacing thousands of people after The Nile river burst its banks.
13.09.2013  |  Bor
The river banks of the Nile in Bor burst on Tuesday, September 4, flooding large parts of Jonglei State’s capital, displacing thousands of citizens.
The river banks of the Nile in Bor burst on Tuesday, September 4, flooding large parts of Jonglei State’s capital, displacing thousands of citizens.

Over 4,000 families were affected and about 600 households were washed away by flood water. Families camped along the roadsides and fish jumped in the deep water in the town centre, locals said.

Garang Ajang and his five children fled their home after it was inundated. I don’t know where to go, that’s why I prefer to stay at the roadside with my children. I have no cash to go and rent,” he told The Niles.

Following the severe flooding, Bor Municipality Mayor Nhial Majak Nhial on Friday, September 6, declared a state of emergency, although this move was criticised by an official in the state executive who argued such a step could only be taken by the central government in Juba.

I don’t know where to go, that’s why I prefer to stay at the roadside with my children.”
Garang Ajang
Authorities closed down schools for a week, to create space to lodge displaced families.

The locals in low lying areas in the Nile basin were urged to leave their homes but many are still at risk. We told the residents to move to higher grounds but now the water is rising faster and most areas of the town are already under water,” Nhial said.

There have been no reported deaths but many children are at risk from poor hygiene and sanitation following the flooding.

Bor’s main market is also submerged, leaving citizens short of basic supplies. State Officials said the flooding rose to 1.9 meters and the water is moving dangerously fast.

Locals say it is the second time the Nile has burst its banks since floods in 2008 and this year’s floods are worse than the previous one.

Observers blamed the state government for failing to construct dykes, stressing that Bor town is lowland, making it vulnerable to flooding.

Bor residents fear that the rains will continue and deepen the floods.

We have mobilised the state’s youth to build some channels and dykes, to reduce the flooding.”
Gabriel Duop Lam
Gabriel Duop Lam, Minister for Law Enforcement, who heads the Emergency Floods Task Force, said they are trying to help those most at risk. We have mobilised the state’s youth to build some channels and dykes, to reduce the flooding,” he said.

South Korean UNMISS peace keepers have deployed excavators to construct dykes and also to help clear blocked roads leading into the capital.

Duop Lam said the state government plans to construct dykes but gave no fixed time frame.

The River Nile’s flash floods affected areas including Malual Chat, Hai Machour, Panliet, Leudiet, Achiengdir, Malou, Arek, langbar, Pan-apet and Thon-bour estates and other parts of the town. A canal dug for rice irrigation reportedly contributed to the flooding after the water in the canal broke its banks and flowed rapidly across the surrounding region.

The State government is now mobilising resources from the humanitarian agencies to assist the displaced families.

This year, most parts of South Sudan have been affected by heavy rainfall which caused flooding in the states of Upper Nile, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, and Warrap.

The National Council of Ministers recently approved seven million South Sudanese Pounds (2.32 million US Dollars) to help thousands affected.