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Unity State: Payinjiar floods cause food shortages

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July 2, 2012 (BENTIU) - Heavy rainfall in Payinjiar County in Unity State on Saturday has forced over 100 families to flee their homes at Tayar Port, according the area’s Commissioner, Peter Gai Joak.

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Group of people fleeing from flooding in Tayar Port, Payinjiar County, Unity State. 29 June 2012, (Bonifacio Taban/ST)

Many people in Payinjiar County, which lacks infrastructure and communication networks system, suffer from food shortages as heavy rains washed away their crops this year.

The heavy rains in June and the start of July has made community in the county stranded and vulnerable, the official said.

A recent livelihood survey by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) found that as well as food shortages communities in Payinjiar County are lacking good health facilities, and safe drinking water. Unemployment is also high.

Payinjiar County’s Tayar Port is the main route whereby by goods are brought into the area and the area lacks good roads.

Most traders in the county struggle to bring in food items from Juba and Malakal by boat.

Tayar Port is four hours walk from Ganyiel Payam [district] where some many people buy food items. However, the rainy season has left the road flooded and muddy and the port inaccessible.

In response traders are doubling their prices.

Payinjiar County communities are calling on government of South Sudan to intervene to improve their food insecurity and provide other services.

The area also suffers from cattle raiding, which locals largely blamed on communities from neighbouring Lakes State.

Diang Chang, who was a victim of Tayar port flooding, told Sudan Tribune that in June around 200 cows were taken from Ador by cattle raiders that are believed to have been from Lake State.

The owners of the cattle have told local authorities that their situation has been made worse after loosing their cows. South Sudanese cattle keeper like the Nuer and Dinka tribes rely on their cattle’s milk and meat. Last year a heavy flood in the area that resulted in a poor harvest.

Payinjiar County citizens are calling on the government to construct roads to link them with other parts of South Sudan so that their economy can develop through trade.

HEAVY RAIN CAUSES LOW SCHOOL TURNOUT

Heavy rain in South Sudan’s Unity State has made Bentiu roads difficult to pass on Monday with many people arriving late to work and students unable to travel to school.

The heavy rains began at around 2am Monday morning and lasted for 7 hours raining. South Sudan’s roads are notoriously bad within only a few kilometres of paved road in the whole country.

The poor state of roads meant that school attendance was far lower than normal, according to teachers at the Giama Primary School.

Out of 1,235 pupils only 600 pupils attending for classes on Monday.

An 18 year old pupil, Gatliah Riak Makuach, told Sudan Tribune that the road he uses to get to school had not been repaired for over a year.

He called on the state government to quickly repair the road before its condition deteriorated further and before South Sudan celebrates its first anniversary as an independent nation on July 9.

Teacher attendance were also affected by the poor roads.

Stephen Khan, the headteacher of Giama Primary School said that it was very unusual for such heavy rainfall, adding that it had affected schools all over Bentiu town. He also called on the government to repair Unity State’s roads so that children could attend school and get an education.

The Unity State government has constructed seven kilometres of tarmac road from the governor’s office to Rubkotna County. However, most roads within Bentiu town are poorly constructed.

There is a fear that the heavy rains could cut off some areas of Unity State from the state capital.

South Sudanese are preparing for July 9, which marks one year of South Sudan’s independence from Sudan. The poor roads and rainfall may mean that some citizens will be unable to attend the celebrations in Bentiu.

(ST)

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