News, Upper Nile State

Heavy rains damage Renk-Melut road

By Charles K Mark

Heavy and lengthy rain has rendered the road connecting Renk to Melut unusable, hindering movement and transport of petroleum products to Sudan.

The major trade road connecting Malakal, through Renk and Melut to Sudan was recently repaired by the UN mission’s peacekeepers based in the area.

The repairs have been a relief; driving up the cost of food and commodities being sourced from Khartoum in Sudan for residents in the Upper Nile region for less than a year.

The Commissioner of Renk County, Upper Nile State Kak Padiet told the No. 1 Citizen Daily English Newspaper that the now impassable road was washed by heavy rains.

“All Vehicles carrying humanitarian assistance and others bringing petroleum products from Sudan have been blocked for lack of road,” said Kak.

The 205-kilometre-long stretch of road also links Malakal with Bunj and Renk, towns that are otherwise only accessible through costly and unreliable air and riverine transportation.

“The people are now using tractors to cross from one point to the other point of the area with no proper transportation means to ease movements,” Mr. Kak Added.

Since the repair of the road, the area has experienced perennial floods in the subsequent rainy seasons.

Several roads experienced disruptions as the onset of the long rains continued to wreak havoc for road users.

In every rainy season, transportation is also deeply impacted by the floods in South Sudan. Roads become mostly impassable by vehicle due to deep mud and water from stagnant waters.

The remaining dirt roads are susceptible to flooding and mud, and between June and October, many of the citizens find it hard to drive through the roads by car.

The disruption of transportation creates difficulties in getting much-needed supplies into certain rural areas, though transport by boat is sometimes possible; it can also be dangerous and expensive.

The lack of accessible roads during the rainy season also creates healthcare issues for people who can’t access clinics far from their homes.

During the rainy season, this travel becomes nearly impossible, especially for severely ill patients or women in labor.

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