National, News

Heavy rains cut off Bentiu from three counties

By Yien Gattour

Heavy and lengthy rain has rendered the road connecting Bentiu headquarters to three counties of Mayiendit, Leer and Koch unusable, hindering movement and trade activities.

The area has experienced floods in subsequent rainy seasons, causing destruction of property.

Since the start of the conflict in 2013, repairs have not been done to the road, increasing the cost of food and commodities sourced from Juba in Dok port for Unity State residents.

The Commissioner of Mayiendit County, Unity State, Dr. Gatluak Nyang told the No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Saturday that the now impassable road was washed by heavy rains in the last two weeks.

“All Vehicles carrying humanitarian assistance and passengers to southern Unity Leer, Mayendit and Koch County from Bentiu have been blocked due to lack of road,” said Gatluak.

The 130-kilometre-long stretch of road also links Bentiu town with Leer, Mayendit and Koch, towns that are not accessible.

“The people are now using only motorcycles to go to three counties Mayiendit, Leer, and Koch Counties from Bentiu town and they don’t transport commodities through public roads due to lack of movements,” Gatluak added.

He said the National Minister of Petroleum’s directive to Sudd Petroleum Operating Company (SPOC) to reconstruct the road from Tharjiath oilfield to Mirmir, Rubkuach, Tutnyang payam, and Leer town to Adok port failed.

“The directive wasn’t put in place by SPOC, they were supposed to reconstruct the roads 130-kilometre-to Leer County from Tharjiath oilfield since 2021, again from Tharjiath oilfield to Koch town and up to now nothing has been done,” the commissioner added.

Meanwhile, Thak Gai Bol, a resident of Mayiendit, told this outlet that their movement has been made very difficult.

“Passengers are using foot to travel from Bentiu to Koch, Mayiendit, and Leer County due to lack of road accessibility, it is now taking three days to reach these areas, while Koch County is only one day away,” Gai stated.

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

Before the rainy season, motorcycle drivers charged a passenger from 4,000 SSP to 35,000 SSP, but now passengers are being charged 120,000 SSP, according to Gai.

Gatkuoth Tok, a resident and motorcycle driver, took 11 hours to reach Bentiu IDP camp from Leer, a 6-hour journey from Leer to Nyaruop due to challenging road conditions.

The remaining dirt roads are susceptible to flooding and mud, and between June and July, 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 Counties Leer, Mayendit and Koch Counties, 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 County to Bentiu’s biggest hospital.


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