By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
September 24, 2012 (BENTIU) - The Deputy Governor of Unity State, Michael Chiengjiek Geay, says citizens living near the state capital Bentiu will face severe hunger after floods destroyed most farms in the area.
Six of the nine counties in the state have reported with poor harvests due to unusually heavy rains since June, according to the official.
Geay said he expects that Payinjiar, Mayiandit, Leer, Guit, Parieng, Mayom Countues could experience and Bentui town could face shortages and called upon the citizens in the areas affected to replant their crops as the severe flooding comes to an end.
He said authorities are working and observing the situation and the outcome of harvest in October.
“We are encouraging those who are heavy affected by floodwater to never give up to replant some crops in their farms after drying”, said Geay.
Authorities in the state had already informed the UN agencies to consider the flood victims in their plans to deliver relief assistance in the state. He warned the public to use the resources they have wisely due to the low production this year.
In its weekly humanitarian summary the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that flooding from seasonal rains incidents has been reported in nine of South Sudan’s 10 states.
The worst affected areas are "parts of Jonglei, Lakes, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity and Upper Nile."
The OCHA report said that "most floods so far have not warranted major humanitarian interventions due to their predictable and localized nature. The humanitarian community continues to monitor the situation and conduct rapid needs assessments to determine any need of humanitarian assistance for flood-affected people."
Surveillance of flood-affected counties across South Sudan has been enhanced and an Emergency Flood Task Force has been established by the Ministry of Health. The report adds: "Access to some flood-affected areas remains limited due to weak infrastructure affected by the heavy rains. In Jonglei and Unity states, assessment missions have been delayed due to insecurity in the areas of the reported flooding."
The UN estimates that 2.4 million people in South Sudan will be food-insecure this year with a total of 4.7 million at risk of food insecurity.
Veronica Nyanen Reat, one of the flood victims in Bentui told Sudan Tribune that many people could face starvation if the government and non-governmental organizations did not provide assistance.
Unity State has faced numerous challenges since South Sudan halted oil production in January when Juba accused Khartoum of confiscating crude as it passed through northern pipelines.
The state, which borders neighbouring Sudan, has also suffered from Khartoum’s decision to close the new international border for trade, accusing Juba of backing rebels in South Kordofan.
In April Sudanese warplanes bombed the state during a brief conflict over the contested Heglig area.
Despite a September 22 deadline set by the United Nations Security Council no breakthrough has been reached between the two sides despite months of peace talks centering oil, disputed areas, and demarcation and demilitarization of the border in Ethiopia and a summit between the presidents of the two countries.