By Yien Gattuor
The transitional unity government of Unity State has applauded the United Nations Mission in South Sudan for partnering in mitigating floods in Bentiu town and Rubkona County.
Unity State Relief and Rehabilitation Commission chairperson, Mr. James Chieng recognized the undisputable efforts of the UNMISS in saving Bentiu from complete submerging by floods.
“Government has been working in partnership with UNMISS in mitigating flood disasters, we have come a long way and managed to control the flood from engulfing the state,” said Chieng.
He made the remark during a meeting to a visiting team of journalists in Bentiu.
Chieng said heavy floods started in June 2019 in Panyijier County, cutting off Rubkona County from most of the neighboring counties.
“We have been working in upgrading of the dykes, we have secured Bentiu as well as Rubkona, we have constructed over 7 km dike in Rubkona and we have more in Bentiu headquarters,” he said.
Chieng noted that the upgraded Bentiu-Mayom road connecting Unity State to Juba and Roriak-Kaikang road linking South Sudan to neighboring Sudan are helping transit of humanitarian assistance in the state.
Maj. Haris Sharif, the flood officer with Pakistani peacekeeping battalion, said Bentiu is flooded mainly because of the choked Bahr El Ghazel River.
He added that cleaning Bahr El Ghazel River will ease flow of water into the Nile.
“Bentiu is low land area, the flooding has affected 5,600 square km that span up to 70 km, the level of livelihoods and livestock in Bentiu and people living in IDP camps has been destroyed,” Sharif said.
“Our main airstrip and IDP camp all got threatened by flooding situation, the dykes set up are temporary measure, we need to clear Bahr El Ghazel River,” he stressed.
RRC state chairperson said they are hosting huge number of people displaced by floods over the past years.
He added the influx of returnees from neighboring Sudan is also putting pressure on the already scarce resources.
“We have about 120,000people in IDP camp, over 50,000 outside IDP camp in Bentiu besides the returnees, now 7,700 plus 1,700 still coming from Upper Nile,” he disclosed, saying the area has been flooded for the last three years.