Mar 12, 2021

Escaping the floods, new refugees arrive daily.

Moving our drilling supplies.
Moving our drilling supplies.

By this time of March, you'd expect the ground to cracked—hardened by the searing daily temperatures. Not this year. In every direction flood water remains.  To move our gear to a new well site we use canoes. We paddle through a forested area which is completely under water.  The floods of 2020 and 2021 have compounded the human crisis of a country and region just trying to gain a foothold on normalcy,  

Every day in Old Fangak new IDP's arrive. Dozens of internally displaced people.  Refugees. Eight out of ten are coming because their homes and all their food were destroyed by flooding.  This isn't the typical, seasonal floods.  Climate change. Heavy rains and snow melt in Uganda have flooded the White Nile and the Sud here in Jonglei State, South Sudan.  There's been nothing like it for a century. 

Most all of the crops lost.  Foot paths to nearby villages under water.  The normal supply chain of food coming from relief agencies interrupted by impassable roads in other parts of South Sudan and Sudan. This is a crisis on top of a crisis.

Today the Chief of Keernyang village came to our compound asking for help.  We had recently brought in water pumps to help with the heavily flooded areas in the village of Old Fangak. He has asked us to come to his village and pump out an area so that food from the United Nations could be delivered.  They, the U.N., won't come until the area is dry he told us.  Although this is outside of our regular mission, their need is dire and their community is starving.  We agree to come, and plans have been made.

Here in Old Fangak our trained drilling crew are surveying existing water wells for damage caused by flooding.  Many are under water, and others have minor repairs needed.  This is what they are trained to do.  By making sure the wells are working properly the local population and new IDP's will have sources of clean drinking water.

While most of the crops and food supplies are lost, we are helping the local farmers with seeds, tools and training. We recently distributed over 300 pounds of seeds to over 150 farming families. Onions, carrots, watermelon, okra, kale, eggplant as well as papaya seedlings. In areas where the water has receded the seeds have been sown and we're already seeing the results. This program is not just for longtime residents. If an IDP decides to stay, once they are settled, they are welcome to request the aid we offer.  Our biggest challenge is keeping up with demand.

Not quite three months into the new year and we've already exceeded delivery of agricultural supplies for all of 2020. To be able to deliver more seeds and tools we will need your help.

We are now reimagining about how to best help refugees with food and clean water. Community leaders are asking us to work to provide “high ground” villages new boreholes (in the drier areas of the region) so that when flooding happens, the refugees can move there.  As our normal work continues here in, and near, Old Fangak we are exploring how to provide for the needs of a community facing crisis. 

One day I hope to report that the problems are solved, and all is well. Today I can simply say that each day we take one step towards helping a group of people who have no one else to turn to. They are so grateful for what is provided. Your gift is life changing here in South Sudan. We are thankful too.

Floods in the "dry" season.
Floods in the "dry" season.
In need of repairs.
In need of repairs.
Repairing the pump.
Repairing the pump.
Drilling a new borehole.
Drilling a new borehole.
Tools for farming.
Tools for farming.

Links:

Nov 16, 2020

Flood Waters. Abandoned Villages. Urgent Need

Distributing Seeds
Distributing Seeds

Like the rest of the world, South Sudan is facing and dealing with the Covid 19 outbreak. In the midst of this pandemic comes another crisis.  Rising flood waters of the Nile River have displaced close to one million people.  Exacerbated by climate change, the people are seeing the highest waters in a century.  Many have lost their homes, all their food, and are now refugees—an estimated 300,000 flood refugees in the region where we work.

As a NGO working to provide clean water and develop agriculture to fight famine our hearts break seeing so many more people in distress.  But we also are moved to action.

Before the floods we had already provided six new sources of clean water in remote villages near Old Fangak.  This involved drilling new boreholes or repairing wells that were dysfunctional.  Clean water is essential to good health.  We had also begun to bring seeds and tools for small family farms and gardens for the refugees who already are in our area.  They had come mostly to flee internal conflict.

Now with flood refugees, our goal is to double the amount of seeds, hoes, shovels, watering cans and foot pumps so that we can help families feed themselves during this crisis.  Imagine if you lost all your food and any means to grow more?  Then imagine how you'd feel is someone, you did not know, came to your aid.  Miracle. Gift from heaven.  This is how the Southern Sudanese refugees feel when we are able to provide them basic help.

We also intend on drilling six new boreholes in the next three months. All in areas where this is not any source of clean water.

We are good at this. In this area along the Nile River the people call us the Alaska Team. They believe that "Alaska" means hope for a better future.  It's now up to all of us to continue to deliver the help they need.

Basic Tools Prepared for Shipment.
Basic Tools Prepared for Shipment.
Supplies at Port of Juba, South Sudan.
Supplies at Port of Juba, South Sudan.
Giving A Helping Hand with Water Pumps
Giving A Helping Hand with Water Pumps
"Main Street" in Old Fangak
"Main Street" in Old Fangak
Nov 13, 2020

Severe Flooding Threatens Farms and Families

Building Dikes.
Building Dikes.

Every year we expect that during the rainy season there will be some flooding in our area. Exacerbated by climate change, this year the high waters came like the people haven't seen for several decades. Across South Sudan estimates of nearly one million people were directly affected.  In our region over 300,000 people had to leave their homes and find safe ground.

The village of Old Fangak is again seeing an influx of flood refugees.  They tell stories of losing their homes, all of the stored-up food—entire villages abandoned. We expect that many of these refugees will stay in the Old Fangak area.

Our immediate response was to airlift water pumps so that we could aid in reducing the damage of the high waters.  Three pumps were purchased in Juba and flown in to Old Fangak.  They were put to immediate use.

But the next step will require a greater effort.  Our goal is to provide seeds, tools and training to 200 families.  This is nearly double what we have done in the past.  But without the ability to grow food to sustain themselves during this time, the community will suffer.

They already call this the "hunger gap" season. Without help it will be another famine.

That's where you come in.  Together we can provide the basic needs. Small shovels. Hoes. Foot pumps for watering. Seeds of all types. Onions, Tomatoes, Kale, Okra, Melons.  They are easy to grow and will feed families.

Time is of the essence. We have already begun to prepare the first shipment of basic needs. But we will need more.  There is no time to waste.  We thank you in advance for your generosity and response to this emergency. Together we are making a difference.

High Water
High Water
The Pumps Are Helping
The Pumps Are Helping
Seeds.
Seeds.
 
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