President Salva Kiir directed the Ministry of Finance and Planning to avail funds for feasibility studies on the Naam River and building the resilience of flood-affected communities.
The River Naam, which is one of the tributaries of the Nile flowing from Bahr El Ghazal via northern Unity State, has been the target of a controversial project to open Nile tributaries north of the countries.
The government gambles that the initiative, widely speculated to cause irreversible environmental damage, will ease the flow of access water downstream and alleviate the catastrophic flooding that has inundated the sudd region.
Kiir said South Sudan is currently experiencing the impact of climate change citing the recent heat wave of over 40 degrees, the four years of flooding and drought in the country’s southeast.
“South Sudan is currently experiencing the impact of climate change. The recent heat wave with temperatures of over 40 degrees and the frequent drought and flooding required are signed that climate change is already here with us,” he said.
“This means all sectors of the government must work to incorporate the strategies and plans of the nationally determined contributions, for the minister of environment and forestry to deliver on its mandate.”
President Kiir stated, at the inauguration of the parliament on Monday, that the funding is to enable the relevant institutions to deliver on their mandates.
“I am directing the Minister of Finance and Planning to avail funds for the conduct of feasibility studies for environmental and social impact assessment on the Naam River and for building the resilience of flood affected communities.”
The directive to have the fund released come after the president appointed a 40-member Public Consultation and Awareness Committee on the Sudd region and the White Nile River to devise the best options for flood and water management in the country, in 2022.
The decision was widely supported by the citizens who criticized the initial government’s plan to clean the Nile water ways without proper assessment.
Kiir then suspended all dredging-related activities in the country until evidence-based studies are carried out on their impact on surrounding communities and the ecosystems they rely on.
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