Gov’t appeals for calmness, amid severe flood threat

Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin Minister of Presidential Affairs (L)

By Akol Madut Ngong

Official from the ministry of environment and forestry is appealing to the South Sudanese population affected by recent floods to calm down amidst severe downpour threat.

The Undersecretary in the ministry of environment and forestry, Joseph Africano Bartel encouraged South Sudanese to be tranquil, saying floods are not only a South Sudan problem, but a global challenge.

The official said South Sudan is not the only country in severe flood stress in the region or in the world, noting that it is a global problem as there have been climate changes.

The Undersecretary made the remarks yesterday while addressing a forum on public awareness and consultations on Sudd Wetlands.

The event was organized by Sudd Wetland, White Nile Resources Development and Management Initiative at Freedom Hall.

“Every country suffers because of the impact of climatic change, not only South Sudan; and I want to assure our people in the flood affected areas that, you are not the only people who are suffering of the flood, it is a global phenomenon. Recently; Kenya, USA, Canada, South Africa and so forth; they are going to be frequent, and we don’t want to hurry into the activities that will have some impact later,” he explained.

Mr. Africano stated that Sudd wetlands is an ecosystem that need to be protected, adding that the area might have some development, but should not be at the extend of the Sudd because ecosystem services from the Sudd has been estimated at 3.3 billion dollars per year from tourism, fishing and all other things.

“Ecosystem services is our rain, we have losing 10 billion metre cubic of annually to evaporations and evaporate is part of the rain cycle, you cannot have rain without evaporation, the important of the Sudd to our country, to the region and globally, all the migration of birds from Europe to South Africa, the Sudd is where they rest and feed energy and go to their mission,” he said.

The official said, in the last three months, they have negotiated with the ministry of water resources and irrigation regarding the dredging of Naam and the Barh el Gazal Basin and the possible resumption of Jonglei Canal project.

He noted that, this project was very sensitive and raise anxiety to the people of this country; “we know well that, in 1974 when the issue of Jonglei canal was initiated and without understanding the environmental impact, we have all told that our water has gone abide taken to Egypt, people demonstrated, people were killed, students were killed and our people also have started the demonstration on the purpose of the digging of Jonglei canal”.

The Undersecretary said that to initiate again this project which has raised a lot of anxiety to them as the ministry of environment and forestry.

He stated that, the gensis of the problem was flooding, and drought heat waves are the impact of climate change.

“We as a country, joined the United Nations framework convention on climate change, we negotiated in the Paris agreement, we signed the agreement that agreement gives special consideration to countries like South Sudan as a least developed country with neglectable emission, we are not contributing to the climate change because our emissions are neglectable but as a country, we are experiencing this impact such as flood, drought, heat wave, envision of exerted species and the flood are going to be frequent, drought are going to be frequent, so the change in our climatic system is going to be there, that is why, we develop our second nationally determine contribution to keep the impact of climatic change,” the official said.

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