‘Worried’ Makuei urges urgent support for flood victims

‘Worried’ Makuei urges urgent support for flood victims
Minister of Information Telecommunication and Postal Services, Michael Makuei addresses media at the ministry’s conference hall on Tuesday January 16, 2021 (photo credit: Kitab Unango/City Review)

JUBA – The South Sudan Minister of Information and Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei Lueth has appealed to humanitarian organizations to roll out urgent support for flood victims stranded in areas submerged in water across the country.

Makuei said there was a need to establish a body to make an assessment of the areas affected by floods to enable them [the government] to identify disaster-stricken areas.

Makuei stressed that the establishment of such a body would help the government to secure the flood victims.

“It is worth mentioning that the water level is rising these days and the rain is becoming heavier and heavier and as a result, more people will continue to be affected by the floods,” Makuei told journalists after the Council of Ministers’ meeting.

The minister expressed worries over the rising level of water in the Nile river that overflows to residential areas in some parts of the country.

“So as of now, we appeal to the people of South Sudan and the international community to come to the rescue of those who are affected by the floods,” Makuei said.

Makuei’s remarks came after the vice president for infrastructure cluster Taban Deng Gai reported to the Council of Ministers during its weekly sitting that two-thirds of the total land in the country has been submerged.

South Sudan regularly experiences torrential rains and seasonal flooding in parts of the country. It is most the vulnerable people who suffer the effects in life-changing ways, according to a report by United Nations.

Last year, more than a million people were affected for the second consecutive year of major flooding, with women and children being the worst hit.

This year, the effects continue to be felt where there is a worsening food security situation and some communities are now facing catastrophic needs, UN said.

In August this year, Arafat Jamal, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan visited flood-affected areas in Jonglei to assess the situation of the people affected by the flood.

Jamal described the flood situation in Ayod County as dehumanizing and that people affected by the floods were stacked with their fields and livestock waterlogged.

He revealed that in his interaction with the flood-affected people in Ayod County, the people told him they survive on few fish they catch from the stagnant water and that sometimes they eat grass that makes them fall sick.

The UN official earlier appealed to the government and called on development partners to scale up humanitarian support for the flood-affected people in the country.

An estimated 1,034,000 people have been affected by floods since July 2020 with Jonglei State being the worst affected (404,000 people).

The 2021 South Sudan Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) conducted by the United Nations humanitarian office for coordination identified 8.3 million people, including refugees, in need of humanitarian assistance across the country.

This is an 800,000-person increase in absolute numbers from the 7.5 million people in need in 2020, the agency said. It warned that people’s physical and mental wellbeing, living standards, and coping mechanisms are expected to further deteriorate in 2021.