Thousands affected by flooding in Aweil

6 Sep 2010

Thousands affected by flooding in Aweil

6 September 2010 – Flooding due to heavy rains has caused massive destruction and destroyed the livelihoods of thousands of people in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal, according to state officials..

"Though we are still accessing the damage caused by this flooding, relative estimates of destruction ... is estimated at 90% for the Aweil (town) population ... in the form of shelters, flour, sleeping gear, chicken and shoats (young pigs)," said State Minister for Physical Infrastructure Peter Kuot Jel, who also serves as head of the recently established Flood Risk and Disaster Management Committee.

At the county level, 70% of Aweil South, 60% of Aweil East and 70% of Aweil West's crops and animals had been destroyed, affecting thousands of residents, the ministry official said.

The floods had also reportedly claimed three lives, and more people would likely die due to waterborne diseases, said Mr. Jel.

State Ministry of Health Director General Dr. Edward Ayong Abiai said that flood-related diseases had already been found in various parts of the state. "Many people have been admitted to health centers because of diarrhea and waterborne diseases associated with the flood problem."

Some hospitals lack drugs to treat flood victims, amid worries that cases of cholera could appear.

"Currently we don't have enough medicine in our stock," said Aweil Hospital Director General Dr. Garang Thomas Dhel. "At this stage we haven't seen cases of cholera but we don't know what will happen next, as the problem is continuing."

Mr. Jel noted that the government was working to ease the water problem by building drainage ditches.

"Though the ministry lacks machinery, we have liaised with construction companies to help us with excavators and hire some from traders in town," he said. "With those machines, we dug a drainage channel of about seven kilometres long to the lowland."

Last month, the Government of Southern Sudan declared Northern Bahr El-Ghazal State a disaster area following floods that swept many parts of it.

The region also suffered in 2008 from heavy flooding, which displaced about 40,000 people.