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Aweil may declare famine next year – official

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Aweil state minister of agriculture - Joseph Garang during a talk show in Eye Radio Studio - Emmanuel Akile/Eye Radio/July 17, 2019

Aweil authorities may declare famine in the state next year after floods destroyed the Aweil Rice Scheme, the state minister of agriculture has said.

Aweil rice scheme is a national project which was established during the British rule in the late 1940s.

In 2012, the German-based humanitarian agency, GIZ, which provided funds for the scheme pulled out, leaving it to be funded by the government.

Last month, heavy rains destroyed hundreds of houses and hundreds of households displaced in the state.

The Aweil state minister of agriculture – Joseph Garang – spoke to Eye Radio in the Dawn show this morning.

The minister said the rain has destroyed the vast farmland in the state.

“The heavy rain which fell in Aweil state has never fallen before in our lives since we were very small children,” said Garang.

“That rain hit a maximum of 195ml and the water level rose, covering all the agricultural areas.”

Mr. Garang said the rain has destroyed almost the whole farmland – with more than half of Aweil population falling victims.

“Now with the population of 439,000 in Aweil State, about 230,000 people have lost their farms, and that’s equivalent to 48 percent of the total agricultural area there. These people have lost their farms. There is no any other alternative because it is time for planting,” the minister.continued.

Minister Garang further stated that the flood has affected the planting season in Aweil.  As a result, he said the state is going to suspend planting this season.

“We are going to suspend the planting season this year until 2020, and this is one of the reasons why we are saying the whole state is in alarming situation for hunger because if the project [rice scheme], which is the one actually supporting people in the area, then that one will be a very big disaster,” Minister Garang warned.

In the recent past, climate change experts said focused efforts are required to reduce the risk of flooding.

They recommend the adoption of flood forecasting and warning systems, data collection systems, flood plain management practices, and land-use planning, as well as economic and social measures -within an integrated framework to lead to sustainable solutions.

They also say concerted efforts are required to achieve these solutions, and such efforts are necessary to stem the rising losses from water-related disasters.

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