South Sudan flooding needs holistic approach – Holland Ambassador

South Sudan flooding needs holistic approach – Holland Ambassador
Jelte Van Weren, Ambassador of Netherlands to South Sudan (photo credit: courtesy)

Ambassador of Netherlands to South Sudan Jelte Van Weren has said the ongoing flooding in parts of South Sudan comes as a result of climate change which he says needs an all-inclusive approach to contain.   

“The flooding situation [is] worsening due to climate change and it’s time for the government of South Sudan to come up with a holistic approach to deal with the flooding,” Van said during an event in Juba where the European Union issued a grant to WFP and UNOPS for the construction of feeder roads yesterday.

He narrated how the Netherlands has also experienced similar challenges prompting the government to come up with the solution.

“The government should come in the forefront and think about [it] to give the water space. There is a need to think about how to use the available land for controlling flood,” Amb Van added. 

However, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Roads and Bridges Peter Kuot Jel said the government would need to cooperate with the international community to maintain the control of flooding because it is a problem that will never end soon.

He said there is also a need to learn from other developed countries on how the people survive flooding instead of being displaced.

“Flooding is an environmental concern and it needs money. Unfortunately, the government is not putting the money so that we can have more training on [controlling] flooding,” he said.

 On Monday, the Sudan government promised to help South Sudan address its protracted flood situation through irrigation to utilizing the excess River Nile water.

This came up in a meeting between the First Vice President Dr Riek Machar and Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Prof. Yassir Abbas in Juba on Wednesday.

The two leaders agreed to strengthen the usage of the River Nile water to minimise the impact of the floods through irrigation schemes.

The Sudanese Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Prof Abbas also pledged to train personnel in the area of water and irrigation especially from the ministry of irrigation and water resources to implement one of the few water projects in South Sudan in Upper Nile.

Over 630,000 people have been affected by the flash floods in 27 counties across South Sudan according to the latest reports by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

 Jonglei and Unity are the most affected states stand with 58 per cent of people affected by the flash floods. Other areas are Upper Nile, Western, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal come second as states badly affected by floodwater.

Last week, the Undersecretary at the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry Dr Kok Bol Nyuer, said the resources available were limited and could not meet the needs of flood victims. He said the government is facing the challenge on how to respond to the needs of the flood-affected population across the country.

 President Salva Kiir early last week decried this year’s flooding, which he said has destroyed the livelihoods of more than half of the population and called on South Sudanese to unite to address the challenges facing the country, including the floods.

He said the people should leave the fighting and join their hands to fight to get out of the crisis facing the country including floods.