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South Sudanese urged to prepare for floods amid heavy rain forecast

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Rainy day. (Courtesy/ICPAC).

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry is calling on South Sudanese to brace for possible flooding this season as the Great Lakes region is hit with heavy downpours that are likely to raise the Nile water level.

The ministry’s undersecretary, Joseph Africano Bartel, said as the heatwave roasting the country subsides, this will give way for cooler temperatures and rain bearing clouds.

“We have come out from the heat but the next thing that is going to come is, we are going to have heavy rains which will also cause flooding,” he said.

The official spoke on Tuesday during a joint Press Conference of the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry on reopening of schools that were closed due to the heat stress.

Four years of flooding in South Sudan from 2019 to 2022 affected two-thirds of the country – submerging swathes of settlements, wiping out livestock and farmlands and displacing hundreds of thousands.

Bartel also stated that the heavy rains forecasted in the Lakes Region will swell up the Nile River, subsequently leading to flooding in the downstream particularly in Jonglei and Unity states.

“Now we are also going to have heavy rains in the Lakes Region: Uganda, Rwanda and the rest. So, with those rains, the level of the Nile will be increasing.”

“So, low-lying areas like Jonglei, Unity will also start experiencing some flooding.”

Undersecretary Bartel also warned that Juba residential areas of Mia Saba, Hai Referendum, Gudele, and Gurei may experience flashfloods as a result of the anticipated heavy rains.

He encourages the public step-up efforts by digging drainage systems to overcome effects of the floods.

“At the moment, our residents in Mia Saba, Referendum, Gudele, and Gurei, which are actually living in a swampy area should start thinking about digging drainage systems for we are going to expect some flooding.”

The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) has predicted a higher probability of early wetter-than-normal conditions across most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa from March to May 2024.

ICPAC said in a press statement the countries expected to experience wetter conditions are Kenya, Somalia, southern Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and north-western Tanzania.

ICPAC director, Dr. Guleid Artan said the forecast raises the urgent need for coordinated action and preparedness and called for proactive measures to mitigate potential impacts.

In neighboring Kenya, heavy rains pounded the capital Nairobi and its surroundings since March 24 affected more than 1,000 households and killed at least four people, according to local media.




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