Woman drowns in South Sudan floods, baby survives

Flood submerges a village in South Sudan. (Credit: Radio Tamazuj).

A South Sudanese woman identified as Nyancien Biliu has drowned while her eight-month-old baby survived as she tried to cross a canal using a rope in Ayod County of Jonglei State in South Sudan, local officials have told the press.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, the county deputy Executive Director, Mr Albino Gatkek, said the incident happened in the Goek area near the Jonglei canal.

 “The deceased Nyancien Biliu, with her baby, was trying to cross the canal from the west to the east using a crossing rope tied to trees at both ends. But in the middle, floodwater waves overpowered and washed her away. Her eight-month-old baby survived because he was placed in a saucepan during the crossing,” he said.

The local official said that by press time, the deceased’s body was yet to be recovered. 

Mr Gabriel Tot, the county Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) coordinator confirmed the incident.

He attributed the incident to lack of transport means in the county. 

“Such incidents could be averted if there were boats for crossing in Ayod. Jonglei canal is over flooded and the floodwater waves are very powerful. So, again, we appeal to the government and aid agencies to help us,” Mr Tot said.

The level of floodwater has been rapidly rising in parts of Jonglei state over the past weeks, leading to massive destruction and displacement. 

At least 10 people including a woman with a baby strapped on her back, have drowned in floodwaters in the Ayod area since September. 

Boy wades through water that has submerged a village in South Sudan. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj).

Boy drowns in pond

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy, Thiol Jongkoor Bukich, has drowned while trying to cross floodwaters at Majak-Baai Village in Aweil North County, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State in South Sudan, local authorities have confirmed. 

The Aweil North County police inspector, Mr Santino Garang, confirmed the incident.

 “Yes, it is true. It happened in Majak-Baai, a 15-year-old boy called Thiol Jongkoor Bukich drowned in a pond in Majak-Baai. He was in the company of two other children aged 7 and 5 years old. There are no charges brought against anybody because these are children,” Mr Garang said.

The county health department official, Mr William Athur, said a postmortem shows that the boy drowned.

Mr Garang Majok, the Majak-Baai area chief also confirmed the incident saying the deceased and other children went to a nearby pond and he asked the other children to wait for him as he tested the depth of the water.

“The boy was walking together with two other children and he told them to wait for him as he assessed the depth of the water and that he would call them to follow him if it was safe or that he would return if it was not safe. When that boy went into the water, he did not return. He drowned,”Mr Majok said.

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