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A WFP dyke rehabilitation project is allowing families to return home


Local authorities in Jonglei State say 13,000 people have been able to return to their homes following a World Food Programme (WFP) dyke rehabilitation project along the 93 km Primary Nile Dyke running from Adwar, Bor South to Apiir, Twic East. This work protects almost 190,000 people living along the dyke in Bor South and Twic East.

Families living along the breach points were displaced in 2020 and to repair the dyke, WFP employed some 2,000 community members to work on fixing the breaches as well as machinery to reinforce and raise the dyke to ensure it is sustainable and able to hold back floodwaters from the Nile River. The labourers finished working at the end of April and the machinery is still working to finish as much of the dyke as possible up to Apiir community before the rains start.

“Our community suffered a lot in the flooding and we all have a responsibility to make life better for ourselves,” said Elizabeth Acham Maketh, one of the community members working on the dyke.

The dyke rehabilitation is one of many initiatives that WFP is rolling out to tackle the climate crisis, improve food security and develop rural economies in South Sudan. 

“Fixing this dyke has been a top priority for WFP, it is critical infrastructure that can keep people in their homes and on their land to cultivate food,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Representative to South Sudan.

“Every family that is able to return to their home is one more family that can build a future without needing to rely on WFP assistance. With significant funding crunches this year, this infrastructure work that provides longer term solutions is becoming a top priority,” McGroarty added.

In Jalle families have already started to rebuild after floodwaters dried up when the dyke breaches were repaired. Among them are Yar Mayom Arok and her children. The family once ran a shop in Jalle until they were forced from their home three years ago due to floodwaters.

“When the waters came, there was no time to save any of our belongings. We put the children in a boat and escaped to dry land,” recalled Yar.

Since coming home, Yar has started a new business – this time selling tea. She hopes to earn enough money to reopen her shop and to buy new livestock.

“I am so much happier in Jalle, there is plenty of fish to eat and if you look at my body, my skin is smooth and I am gaining weight again,” she says.

Local authorities say people are now returning home and are carrying out their livelihoods such as growing crops and rearing animals. Communities are also rehabilitating schools and health facilities that were initially submerged by floods.

“Movement of people has been made possible,” said Ruben Maker Ajok, Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) Coordinator in Twic East. “Livelihoods have generally been much easier and more comfortable since the area dried up due to dyke rehabilitation.”

The 93 km dyke rehabilitation project has been made possible with support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office (FCDO), and private donors.

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