September 12, 2012 (JUBA/RUMBEK) - Around twelve people in Western Equatoria State and three people from Awerial County in Lakes State are believed to have died due to floods and fast flowing rivers over the last two days, according to officials.
- Rains made the road to Owinykibul in Eastern Equatoria State impassable, July 22, 2012 (ST/Julius Uma)
Western Equatoria State’s minister of information and communications, Charles Barnaba Kisanga, said in a statement on Tuesday that a whole vehicle - registration number CE515R - traveling from Yambio to Juba had been washed away at the at the Luri Bridge crossing of the Luri River at 8pm on Monday. All 12 passengers are believed to have died.
"We are deeply saddened by such event which shows the dangers of driving on our roads these days”, Kisanga said.
Heavy rains across South Sudan are making roads impassable and cutting off commercial activities and supplies from reaching towns and rural areas.
Minister Kisanga explained there was nothing much the state government could do to improve the situation since there was a lack of funds due to the austerity measures introduced after South Sudan stopped oil production in January as part of a transit fee dispute with Khartoum.
The cuts have crippled government plans to link the area to Juba and other towns and areas with well maintained roads.
“They have been cut and we can only advise drivers to take extra care. The Western Equatoria Government is currently mobilizing some resources for the part between Madebe and Ibba but it may not provide any immediate solution”, he said.
“We only advise drivers to exercise maximum care especially if deciding to use the Jambo-Juba Road. The advice is to use [the] Yei-Juba Road even though this is also in bad state and takes longer. Luri has become very hazardous”, he explained.
“The driver Joseph Peter survived the accident. We are still waiting on news update from Juba on the recovery of bodies. Our condolences to all relatives and friends of those who might have perished in the accident”, he said.
LAKES STATE FLOODS
In Lakes State, the Awerial County commissioner David Mayom Riak, has reported that more than 2,000 people have been displaced and three people, including a nine-year-old child have died due to flooding.
Heavy rain caused the Gel River, which is located at the eastern part of the county, to overflow, Mayom said, adding that the floods had been a surprise.
Commissioner Mayom said that Dor, Bunagok, Alel and Magok payams [districts] were affected, asking humanitarian organizations, the state government as well national government in Juba to quickly intervene.
This is the first time serious floods have hit the county since South Sudan became independent last year.