Ill-equipped Northern Bahr el Ghazal handicapped when fire breaks out

By Ambrose Achuil Garang

When infrastructure and properties catch fire in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, its simply mayhem as everyone watches on helplessly, including the State department of the Civil Defense Service.

The Civil Defense Service is the authority in charge of controlling fire outbreaks across the country but in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, it does not even have a fire engine to fight fire.

Martin Mawien, the Deputy Director of the Civil Defense Service in the State said fire safety equipment are completely wanting.

“Sincerely, we are handicapped in our duty. We can’t do anything to contain any fire outbreak,” Mawein told Juba Echo in an interview.

There are very many cases of fire outbreaks and some people have even died in those incidents and although we are contacted we can’t do anything to rescue people from fire,” he said.

“There are no equipment totally in our office, we don’t have a fire fighter vehicle and our forces are even very few.”

Residents of the State are demanding authorities acquire firefighting equipment so that they and their properties are protected in case of outbreaks of fire.

“The fire brigade should just stop saying that they are in NBGs, when there is nothing they do,” Jok Dut Gar a resident of Aweil town said.

Gar recalled a fire outbreak in Mapper residential area “which could have been contained if the fire brigade was active.”

Records from the State national civil defense show 203 fire incidences were reported since last year and at least 11 people died.

The State capital this week witnessed two fire incidents of fire outbreaks including on a truck carrying food aid which burnt to ashes while the fire fighters looked on.

“It pains us so much not to help in fire outbreaks but we can’t do anything,” Deputy Director Mawein said.

“I wish the State government can help us although it should be our national office that solves our challenges.”

John Deng, also a resident of Aweil, echoed Mawein, urging the government to empower the Civil Defense Service to be able to deliver services to the people.

“When you call their office, they will just say we cannot help but let everyone distant themselves from fire until it consumes everything,” Deng said, adding, “this is very bad for sure.”

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