By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
October 2, 2013 (BENTIU) - Eleven people are reported to have died after heavy flooding hit Payinjiar county, officials told Sudan Tribune after a return visit to the affected side.
More than 56,000 people are believed to be victims of the flood and in need of emergency assistance.
The teams who went in to the field comprised of ministers from Unity state and top officials from the national government which, including Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) chief Peter Lam who flew to area to assess conditions on the ground and damage to affected communities.
State minister of information and communication Nyaliep John Dak told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that flood victims were facing extremely harsh conditions.
“We actually went there to know how the rain affected the people there … they are really in trouble, the flood affected them too much [and] there is not any space which is dry all over; the spaces were full of water”, she said.
Dak said the risk of snake bites and an outbreak of waterborne disease was also a major concern for those in flood-affected areas.
She says most farms were underwater and crops were destroyed before the yielding period.
Dak has called on the state and national governments, as well as international organisations to step in and provide emergency support to victims.
She described conditions on the ground as “really heavy”, saying there was a severe lack of food and available medicine.
Cattle in the area had either been killed or run away, she added.
“We need to take an urgent action to help these people”, the information minister said.
Gatluak Pech Dak, the area MP in Unity legislative assembly, claims he filed several reports for the urgent attention of the state government on strategy plans for the area.
Pech said Payinjiar had been more or less wiped out by floodwaters.
He blames government for the latest crisis, saying it failed to address reoccurring challenges and introduce flood mitigation strategies.
“If the government is not constructing any dyes, it means that there is nothing like Payinjiar”, he said.
“This environmental change is coming and if you are in the low land you will always suffer. So I look into this situation that I’m not happy. How could I be happy? I will be somebody representing no constituency”, he added.
Pech has called for food and non-food items to be urgently distributed to flood victims in the county.
“I urged the government of the state and the national government, plus the international organisations who are here that they should actually take emergency kits and help the communities to deal with this tough situation”, the MP said.
Unity state RRC director James Ching says a meeting was scheduled on Thursday between government officials and humanitarian partners to discuss how best to respond to the flood situation.
Officials say 11 payams [districts] were seriously damaged by floodwaters in Payinjiar county, adding that the area has experienced reoccurring flooding since last year when 6,000 people were forced from their homes.
The latest floods are believed to be the heaviest so far and victims could face extreme food shortages if humanitarian organisations do not act swiftly.