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Jonglei reports insufficient supply of drinking water

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March 23, 2016 (BOR) - Communities in three newly created states from the old Jonglei state have reported insufficient access to drinking water in the rural areas, and urged international organizations to intervene.

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A community member participating in the safe drinking water campaign initiated by Plan South Sudan, March 17, 2011 (Photo: Christine Poni)

Leaders responsible for water supply in the new states of Jonglei and Western Bieh [Fangak] state said there are huge gaps exist in states in supplying the rural and urban populations with clean drinking water.

Gabriel Gai Kurjil, director of water and sanitation in the ministry of physical infrastructure told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that the population pressure in the urban areas has caused the shortage of clean drinking water, blaming the deteriorating situation on the 2 years of war.

“Water is not always enough, we always have a lot of gaps, where we still need water supply in some areas in the rural villages. Some of the boreholes we were having in the villages were left due to the crisis. People went to areas where they cannot get enough water,” explained Gai on Wednesday.

He said most of the boreholes overstayed without pumping, causing the water to change the color and taste. He also cited lack of spare parts, especially the pipes.

In Bor town, capital of the new Jonglei state, he said, a lot of people spent the day without getting enough water. The few boreholes available get congested, a situation, which the ministry of physical infrastructure has tried to address.

“Within Bor town, we are working in collaboration with urban water cooperation, running 15 locations supplying water to the people,” he said.

Also International Community of the Red Cross (ICRC) and some partners supported by UNICEF had made extensions on some of the pipes for small water distribution units within the town, but with limited capacity.

“This small water system is not functioning well in the town because the capacity of the solar system is not enough to pump the water well. Some of the water distribution units are serving very little purpose inside Bor,” said Gai.

The increase of civil population in Bor town due to displacement from the villages has forced people to spend a day on less than four liters of water a day.

“You can see over hundred jerry-cans in a line at one borehole, we need an intervention on that side especially from NGOs which are active on the side of water and sanitation,” said Gai.

According to Jooh Majak Deng in Moldoor village, it takes them a whole day before each family gets a jerry-can of water due to over crowdedness.

Due to consumption of dirty water from the river, and low levels of sanitations, Bor was among the states hit by cholera outbreak last year, although doctors without borders and other medical agencies contained it.

“Cholera was the result of people leaving their areas and try to go to areas they don’t have safe water for drinking. Some of the areas severely affected were along the river, so most of them were taking water from the river, there were no toilets,” added the director.

He said people are many in Bor town, and have no other alternative source of water, adding the populations have arranged themselves into groups with each group taking over for about four hours before the next group.

“This may take you a whole day to get water, or you may get it the following day. We need more boreholes in this play,” said Ajooh at Moldoor in Bor town.

Meanwhile, an organization, Care For Children and Old Ages in South Sudan, has pledged to rehabilitate more than 10 boreholes in the states particularly in areas where internally displaced people are located.

Peter Aluong Manyok, coordinator for care for children and old ages revealed their plans to media in Bor.

“We have 15 boreholes that need to be rehabilitated. Five will be in Duk County, five in Ayod and Uror counties we also going to train 500 peace promoters in those counties,” Aluong said.

According to Manyaok, training Nuer and Dinka on water, hygiene and sanitation would also be one way of encouraging peaceful co-existence between them.

(ST)

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