A returnee carries a jerrycan from a water point at a transit centre in Rubkona Count in Unity State. (Credit: OCHA)

Severe shortage of safe drinking water hits Guit County

The inhabitants of Kuach Payam in Unity State’s Guit County have been grappling with a severe shortage of clean drinking water since July 2021 and the situation has been execrated by the influx of returnees and refugees from Sudan who have stretched the few available water points.

The inhabitants of Kuach Payam in Unity State’s Guit County have been grappling with a severe shortage of clean drinking water since July 2021 and the situation has been execrated by the influx of returnees and refugees from Sudan who have stretched the few available water points.

Ruot Kai, a returnee from Sudan told Radio Tamazuj on Sunday that they have not had clean drinking water for nearly one year since returning home.

“We appeal to aid agencies, the government, and oil companies to intervene because the residents and returnees lack financial resources,” he urged. From August last year until now, we have not had access to safe drinking water. We continue to lodge complaints with the government of Unity State and UN agencies and keep urging them to provide us with clean drinking water.”

Another resident, Nyanhial Kuich, revealed that due to the lack of clean water, many people have resorted to drinking dirty water from the swamp, leading to numerous illnesses.

“The returnees are affected by various water-borne diseases such as diarrhea as a result of the shortage of clean drinking water,” she stated.

On his part, John Both, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) director in the area confirmed that the returnees and residents in Kuach Payam and other parts of the county are currently experiencing a water shortage.

He said the sudd Pioneer Operating Company (SPOC) is partnering with the RRC to provide water to address the crisis.

“We urge SPOC to continue supplying water to the returnees and the entire population in the area daily for an improved quality of life,” Both said. “I have informed the county leadership to talk to SPOC to continue supplying water to the returnees and residents.”

Reports indicate that Guit, Rubkona, and Koch counties in Unity State have long struggled with clean water shortages since South Sudan gained independence in 2011. Guit and Koch counties rely on water supplied by SPOC while Rubkona County receives water from GPOC, as per an arrangement made between the two main petroleum operating companies in the respective counties.