Catholic Priest in South Sudan Calls for “proper planning” to Avert Floods, Disasters

Credit: JRS

Engaging in “proper planning” can go a long way in averting deadly floods and other similar disasters in South Sudan, a Catholic Priest in the East-Central African nation has said.

Fr. John Gbemboyo who was reacting to reports of negative effects of heavy rains in parts of South Sudan advocated for a proactive approach of the country’s ministry for disaster and preparedness through the provision of appropriate equipment.

A Thursday, October 20 report by the Jesuits Refugee Service (JRS), an international refugee entity of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), indicates that “with water levels rising higher than a meter, more than 200,000 people are estimated to have been affected” by heavy rain and severe floods in Maban County of Upper Nile State, South Sudan. 

Described as “the most devastating flooding experienced in over four decades”, the floods in Maban are said to have destroyed various infrastructure, including roads, schools, and other social facilities and caused “significant damage to livelihood assets, food crops, and livestock”, according to the October 20 JRS report.

In a Tuesday, October 18 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Gbemboyo who is the Social Communication Coordinator of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) said, “Proper planning can help the government to avert more disasters.”


The recent destructive floods, the Catholic Priest said, “is a call for our government to make sure that the ministry for disaster and preparedness is equipped enough to help in such a situation by setting up proper mechanisms that will help stop disasters across the country.”

“The establishment of these disasters and preparedness mechanisms will help the government to plan for many years ahead because what is going on will keep them alert all the time,” the member of the Clergy of South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY) said.

He went on to appeal for humanitarian assistance for flood victims, saying, “Even though it’s a natural disaster, we are still appealing to the people who can assist our brothers and sisters caught up by water across the country to help.” 

“These people don’t have enough shelter, no place for them to sleep, nowhere to cook food even if they have food because of the flooding,” Fr. Gbemboyo lamented, and added, “The natural disaster that is happening now is beyond our reach but it needs planning and assistance for those who are going through these difficulties.”

He challenged President Salva Kiir-led government to use the current situation of disaster to reflect on how to handle catastrophes in the country, including how to reach out to “poor people who are suffering as a result of these disasters.”

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Those people affected by the floods need humanitarian assistance “because they are human beings and they need to have what it takes to feel like human beings,” Fr. Gbemboyo told ACI Africa during the October 18 interview.

On October 5, the Catholic Bishop of South Sudan's Wau Diocese appealed for humanitarian aid for those affected by destructive floods in multiple States in South Sudan.

Speaking to journalists in Juba upon arrival from Rome, Bishop Mathew Remijo Adam expressed the Church’s spiritual solidarity with the flood victims. 

“As a Church, we are deeply saddened by the suffering of the people in the Diocese as a result of floods, particularly in the Northern Bahr El Ghazal State,” Bishop Remijo said.

The member of the Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ) added, “The Church is especially concerned about this troubling scenario in the area where many people have been adversely affected by the flood. It is truly distressing to see our Christian communities living in such a terrible situation in the States.”


Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.