JUBA – South Sudan’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation on Tuesday refuted that claims on social media that it has officially started resumption of construction work of the Jonglei canal.
For two weeks, activists and social media users have expressed worries on claims that the ministry of water resources and irrigation had signed a deal with the government of Egypt to resume construction of the canal.
But speaking to Sudans Post in an inclusive interview this morning, the Press Secretary in the office of the Minister of Water Resources, Gattiek Gatkuoth Wichar said the ministry is only conducting a feasibility study on the impact of Jonglei Canal on the current flood situation in the country.
“The Minister of Water Resource and Irrigation, Hon. Man Peter has just made a proposal to make a feasibility study on the impact of Jonglei Canal on the current flood situation,” Wichar told Sudans Post reporter in Juba on Tuesday.
Wichar said the information circulating on social media about the resumption of the canal is misleading.
“What is happening on social media is misleading information. There is no issue to do with the resumption of the Jonglei canal by the minister. Everything is just subjected to review,” he said.
“As per resolutions of council of ministers, the minister of Water Resource, Environment and Humanitarian Affairs was mandated by the council of ministers to go and assess the situation in those floods affected areas.”
He refuted the claim that the ministry has imported machines to start work on the canal.
“What is circulating on social media that the minister has requested some tools and that those tools have arrived in the country and are ready to construct that canal, is misleading information,” he said.
He said the ministry wants to study the impact of 250 km dug in 1978 by an Egyptian firm on livelihood and climatic change in the country.
“As a country now, we want to study 250 km and its impact on livelihood, climate change, and Ecosystem. So, there is no plan on resumption of the Jonglei canal as it is circulating on social media,” he said.
“There was no approval of the resumption of the canal. What has happened as the ministry, we want to make our own feasibility study of already 250 km that has already been dug in the canal and its impact on current floods situation in South Sudan,” he added.
The construction of the Jonglei Canal started in 1978 but was abruptly stopped when the SPLM/A began its operation in southern areas in 1983.
According to South Sudanese intellectuals, the project was an attempt by the Egyptians to exploit the Sudd water to satisfy their dire needs.