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Cablegate: Sudan - Flood Response in Southern Sudan

VZCZCXRO7185
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1385/01 2470841
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 040841Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8389
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001385

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, DCHA/OFDA, AND AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, USAID/SFO AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NSC FOR PMARCHAM AND MMAGAN
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU

SUBJECT: SUDAN - FLOOD RESPONSE IN SOUTHERN SUDAN

REF: Khartoum 1271

KHARTOUM 00001385 001.2 OF 002


1. Summary. Since June, flooding has affected more than 91,000
people in Lakes, Warrab, Unity, Upper Nile, Northern Bahr el Ghazal,
and Jonglei states in Southern Sudan, according to the U.N. It is
unclear whether the floods are worse than in previous years;
however, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) report that more
people are affected this year due to the influx of returnees.
Poorly constructed roads appear to have caused flooding in Northern
Bahr el Ghazal and Unity states. The U.N. has been slow to
coordinate assistance in Southern Sudan, and many information gaps
remain. USAID plans to provide USD 600,000 to the U.N. Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Emergency Response
Fund and USD 745,000 to Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) to airlift food
and supplies to remote areas. End summary.

-------------------------------------
POORLY CONSTRUCTED ROADS CAUSE FLOODS
-------------------------------------

2. In some areas of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Unity states,
poorly engineered roads appear to have caused flooding, rather than
excessive rainfall. For example, in Aweil East County, which
received more than 20,000 returnees in 2007, the new road
constructed by the Eyat Road Construction Company crossing the
Wakabil River has caused flooding 8 km from Aweil town. A USAID
field monitor participated in an assessment of the area and reported
that the road's culverts are insufficient, causing flooding on the
western side of the road. As a result, an estimated 8,000 people
have been displaced.

3. While humanitarian agencies are responding in Aweil, the Eyat
Road Construction Company has also donated 4.5 metric tons of
sorghum and is drilling one borehole on the eastern side of the
road, where the government plans to accommodate flood-affected
families. The company has used its machinery to clear the ground
for settlement at the new site. In private conversations with USAID
staff, government officials reported that they are registering
affected populations and assessing damage to request additional
compensation from the company.

4. In Unity State, as reported reftel, humanitarian staff and
government officials have not yet decided how to address the issue
with private companies. However, U.N. staff report that they are
determining how to best use this year's flooding as an example to
advocate for better road construction as Southern Sudan develops.

-----------------------------------------
FLOODING AFFECTS RETURNEES, FOOD SECURITY
-----------------------------------------

5. Flooding has especially affected returnees, according to
humanitarian agencies. Many returnees were unable to plant until
late in the planting season, as their first priority upon return had
been constructing shelter. Heavy early rains reportedly destroyed
the nascent crops of many returnees. While the particulars vary by
situation, returnees are generally eligible to receive an initial
three-month food ration and limited subsequent rations if needed.
In Pagak, eastern Upper Nile State, USAID staff observed returnees,
including visibly malnourished children, who had walked 200 km from
Longechuk County after their initial three-month ration had run out.
Flooding had prevented relief agencies from delivering a second
installment of food aid to Longechuk County, so the returnees walked
to the Pagak way station, which they had passed through during their
return journey. Approximately 1,000 returnees have come back to
Pagak to request second rations, according to Adventist Development
and Relief Agency, which is distributing food at the way station.

6. The U.N. was unable to deliver food aid to 42 percent of
intended beneficiaries in July, and a reduced harvest for this
planting season appears likely at a time when Southern Sudan's
population is rapidly increasing. On August 28, the USAID-funded
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) reported that
flooding has destroyed crops in areas of Upper Nile, Unity, Jonglei,
and Lakes states, potentially extending the hunger period through
December. During a recent USAID visit to Jonglei State, the
governor reported that flooding has destroyed more than 85 percent
of crops in at least five counties: Pochalla, Akobo, Nyriol,
Fangak, and Bor.


KHARTOUM 00001385 002.2 OF 002


7. However, FEWS NET reported that as flood waters recede in
November and December, an increase in the availability of fish,
water plants, and milk is likely to improve conditions. FEWS NET
and Jonglei officials reported that in some pockets, it may be
possible to plant specific crops such as sorghum in November,
mitigating some of the effects of the flood damage.

----------------------------
U.N. COORDINATION LACKLUSTER
----------------------------

8. The U.N. has been slow to coordinate assistance at the state and
county level due to staff shortages. Because of internal
transition, the U.N. Resident Coordinator's Office (RCO) lacks
permanent officers in two of the most affected states, Unity and
Jonglei, and the lead RCO officer in Upper Nile was on vacation
during the flooding. OCHA's Southern Sudan director recently
departed post, further straining limited human resources. U.N.
agencies have not stepped in to play an effective role in
sector-level coordination, although the U.N. Joint Logistics Center
has produced useful maps and attemQed to extract information on
non-food item stocks from NGOs.

9. U.N. leadership is particularly needed to gather and analyze
information. Many flood-affected areas in Southern Sudan remain
completely inaccessible, making donors and program staff even more
reliant on the limited available information to make program
decisions. While the U.N. is now hosting weekly coordination
meetings in Juba and has assembled comprehensive reports in each
state, the absence of this coordination in July and early August
complicated USAID's efforts to provide immediate assistance.

10. The planning process for the countrywide U.N. Flash Appeal in
August was a much-needed catalyst to promote information sharing and
response planning in the south. Through the Flash Appeal, the U.N.
and partners have requested more than USD 20 million to provide
relief and recovery assistance throughout Sudan, including the
north. It is not yet clear whether donors will provide substantial
funding toward this appeal.

11. The U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which has a fleet of
helicopters, has played only a small role in relief efforts. The
Jonglei State Governor told USAID that UNMIS denied his request to
transport supplies to flood-affected areas; a Moldovan oil company
provided the assistance instead. OCHA staff noted that, after much
negotiation, UNMIS agreed to provide eight single flight legs for
flood assistance. It remains to be seen whether UNMIS fulfills this
minimal pledge.

--------------
USAID RESPONSE
--------------

12. The USAID offices of Food for Peace and U.S. Foreign Disaster
Assistance plan to provide more than USD 1.3 million in assistance
for flood-affected communities in Southern Sudan. USAID plans to
provide USD 745,600 to NPA to fly food and relief supplies to remote
areas of Unity, Upper Nile, and Jonglei states. The supplies
include household items and fishing kits, which will help address
food security issues. In addition, USAID plans to provide USD
600,000 to OCHA's Emergency Response Fund. Through this mechanism,
NGOs can obtain small grants for localized response efforts. Other
current USAID partners are responding through existing programs in
flood-affected areas. USAID will continue to monitor the situation
and provide additional reporting as needed.
FERNANDEZ

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