JUBA – Sudanese authorities are concerned that the resumption of South Sudan’s Jonglei Canal may result in immense flooding that will affect the capital Khartoum, First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar said on Thursday.
Speaking during the closing session of the public consultation on Nile waters ordered by President Salva Kiir Mayardit following public outcry, Machar said the Sudanese authorities are concerned and the government of South Sudan would need to persuade them if the reconstruction of the canal is to be resumed.
“By the way you must know that Sudan is the one concerned now with the canal. Some of their experts are saying that is the canal is completed, then Khartoum will be flooded. So, now have a problem to persuade the brothers in Sudan, no we don’t want Khartoum to be flooded, we have another design,” Machar told the experts.
“If we finish, while constructing it, we are also making our canals within Jonglei, so the water is not going to increase. But leaders in Khartoum are saying that if you finish the Jonglei canal, it is going to flood Khartoum, so they don’t need more water,” he added.
The senior government official further said that Jonglei Canal has rescued the state including the capital Bor from being submerged in water because a dyke constructed by the government of Netherlands to help the people of Jonglei is diverting water into the Jonglei Canal.
“You are to fix Jonglei Canal, 267 kilometers of it has been duck. Some of you will remember that I said were it not because of the Jonglei Canal, Bor would have been submerged in water because the dyke that has been constructed by the Dutch and IOM, have diverted the discharge, which is the flood, to the Jonglei Canal,” he said.
“That’s why we were seeing water inside the Jonglei canal. So, you can come from Sobat mouth up to south of Panyigoor using boats on it. So already, it is an infrastructure our people are using. To avoid talking about it, is not fair. We must talk about it,” Machar stressed.
He told the experts that “If you want to review some of it, ok, the sooner, the better rather than delaying it. Because it is us this generation that correct the misinformation we give you. It will not be the next generation, it is us who will have to correct it.”