Ministers summoned over ‘worrying’ flood response

Ministers summoned over ‘worrying’ flood response
Peter Mayen, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management (photo credit: courtesy)

The Reconstituted Transitional National Assembly (R-TNLA) has resolved to summon eight national ministers and two chairpersons from the independent commissions to the August House to answer questions regarding the mitigation of the ravaging floods.

The resolution was made by the Members of Parliament after the presentations of motions moved by two members who highlighted the effects of the floods that have so far affected three-quarters of the country and displaced about 700,000 people.

After deliberating thoroughly on the issue, the parliamentarians resolve that floods in the country be declared a national disaster and that a technical committee should be formed at the Parliament to look into the issues.

Those summoned are from the dockets of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, health, water resources and irrigation, environment and forestry, finance, interior, gender, petroleum, and social welfare.

Chairperson from the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and the Human Rights Commission have also been summoned to appear before the House on Monday.

Urgent action needed

The legislators said they need to address the flood menace should be treated as a national matter and as an urgent issue to provide a short and long-term solution to stop the suffering of the people.

During the debate, Prof. George Bureng Nyombe suggested that scientific research be conducted to find out the real causes of flooding in South Sudan since the 1960s to provide a permanent solution to the problem.

“We need to get a scientific report from our department of meteorology because these are consequences of climatic change effects or other things happening along with the areas around the Nile,’’ he said.

“I want to suggest that while we emphasise the concerns about what is happening because it is a real disaster and; we do not see the real response that is required, we need to engage the government and the parliament to find out from our neighbours what is going on,” he further said.

Another legislator, David Okwier Akway, said the government should create lakes and water channels and water systems to which the floodwaters can be directed and later used for agriculture.

“Let us turn this water into useful programs and projects and make benefit of it for agriculture, make this benefit of the lots of water that is killing our people into fisheries, let us take benefit of this water for agriculture to produce food and produce fish” Akway advised.

He said the people affected by floods across the country need to be supported urgently with immediate and that the ministers concerned should be summoned to the parliament to explain what they have so far done to the flood victims since its onset.

“We need to summon the ministers concerned, first is the minister of humanitarian affairs to come to this August House and answer the question about the actions he has taken to give relief food. Has he done anything now if not why?” he asked.

Victor Lomohu, a member representing Lafon said even though the density of the effects of the flood is felt in Upper Nile and Bar-El- Gazal, the associated consequences are also felt throughout the country including his constituency.

He called on the ministry of humanitarian affairs to consider adding the associated consequences of floods being felt by communities who are hosting flood victims into their response plans.

“By next week, we need this report so that we know what is happening, money has been flying into this country, even from Vatican money came here and the executive branch of this house must present to us a comprehensive report that will be used not only by us but also the international community,” Victor stressed.

“I don’t know how they are doing it but they are doing it in [small] pieces. There is no comprehensive way of getting money and channelling goods to help our people. The executive needs to harmonise their way of handling the floods,” he added.

Elizabeth Adut lamented that Northern Bar El Gazal was underwater and floods had destroyed homes, crops, and animals. He sympathised with the displaced people who are exposed to diseases, hunger, and snake bites.

“The flood is destroying people and we are just keeping quiet. I and am summoning the minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management and the minister of health [to tell us] what are they doing,” she said.