Jonglei Canal Project is a Looming Catastrophe

The central government in Khartoum and evil government in Cairo never had a health intention for people of southern Sudan since independent.

By Koang Tut Jing 

Just after three years of Sudan’s independent the suggestion of constructing canal in Jonglei popped up in 1958 to increase the amount of water reaching Egypt. This of course ignored the negative effects the canal would create against the local people. Despite the internal problems the Jonglei Canal would cause Nimeiri’s Government along with his agents in the south curbed in to Egyptians desire.

Frankly, Egyptians have nothing to offer us rather than sucking our blood for their survival. Egypt was the first country to recognise the NIF when they took over through coup, what good do Egyptians have for us? I am sceptical if there is a single Egyptian who thinks Sudanese are humans as they are. It is the reason why we have been under threat in the past and still today not escaped from it. Our country was invaded several times during the ruin of Queen Sheba at the time of Roman rule of Nero due to the Nile water. The Egyptians fears of Nile waters one day no longer reach them still exist and will eventually spark war. Egypt still willing to solve Nile water problem militarily in order to keep it dominant over the rest in the region. My dear fellows Sudanese, it would be fatal mistake if the leaders in Juba again curbed in to baseless pressure from Egypt in expenses of Jonglei citizens. The reason being is because the effects of Jonglei Canal on the Sudd Swamps will not only severe the normal lives of our citizens but the beautiful plants as well as the sanctuaries for our bird species will be gone.

We know the Nile discharges its water into the great wetland of the Sudd or the network of lakes, channels, and swamps. The canal is designed to bypass the Sudd and direct downstream a proportion of the water to Egypt leaving our Sudd dry. According to them they think the water from the Nile that discharges into our Sudd is termed as “lost by spill and evaporation in the swamps” which I strongly dispute because of the following factors:

1. The process of seasonal inundation from river flooded grassland produces species of grasses that sustain our livestock and the wild life during the driest months. Where shall our pastoralists go if their Sudd is drained by this canal? We have no other option when the grasses of high land are exhausted and no regrowth after burning. Clearly, the Jonglei Canal is meant to destroy our pastoralists’ economy. Given that fact I think every Jonglei citizen has to stand up in defend of our right against the robbers.

2. A severe decrease in discharge into the Sudd resulting from the Jonglei Canal would cause the total disappearance of many lakes in the papyrus zone. This would amount to serious lost of fishing which the Canal cannot provide because of it depth adversely affecting the establishment of fisheries. Why do we have to punish innocents this way if we are genuinely representing their interest? For this Kiir and his circle must think critically before becoming another Abel Alier.

3. The Annual floods capable of inundating are crucial to the maintenance of biological diversity in the Sudd. We have a white pelican, cyperus papyrus, other animals and other plant species which are economically important in term of tourists attraction will be destroyed by the creation of this canal as their sanctuary will be drained.

4. Jonglei Canal can drastically affect the climate, the groundwater, recharges, salt and water quality, the destruction of fish and changes our tradition lifestyle.

5. This Canal can become a barrier between villages, and dry season grazing land as well as dislocate the pastoral cycle.

Posted in: Opinions
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24/03/2015, 4:32 PM
 - Posted by Michel Rabbat
Dear Koang,

I would like to be able to share your views with many of my students throughout the world ...their average age is 50-60... I usually contact them thru www. . May be you could add the email address I just gave you as a contact. They are located in Canada, USA, Egypt , UK, France , Australia , Jordan, etc...

Now dear friend and fellow African, Let me mention something ...The world famous Delta of the Nile was one day just like the Sudd region of your country . If you read the bible , our Patriarch Abraham would go into Egypt regularly to fatten his cattle and sheep and goats there ... It is no longer a swamp now... It was at the time of the Pharaohs and the same land that fed a few hundred thousand cows then can produce higher quality fodder today to feed millions of cows ...or to grow three crops a year ( and I have a project that may make it possible to grow four crops a year) and can sustain industrial crops for manufacture and export as well as foodstuffs. It is sometimes more economical to grow plus value crops and import from the US, or Australia , or Argentina crops of foodstuffs that cost less.
So section (1) though valid for the status quo is invalid for a better future ...which I presume is what every single Nilotic ( I prefer this term to South Sudanese) person wants ...otherwise they would not have fought fiercely for their independence .
Re (2) disappearance of Lakes may occur ....but their fish will not since they will go and live between the islands of grass...On the other hand ...I offer you to study the Ancient Mayans of Central America....they grew gardens that floated . Your people can do the same ...also they can do what I am suggesting Egyptians to do in the desert ...instead of modern americanstyle conglomerate agriculture , they can raise bed of stones masonry filled with good deep soil that has accumulated thru the ages and grow the best foods above ground with ideal drainage instead of soggy swampland ... It is an idea ..I extend out of sharing common values of honor , respectability , and creativity.
re(3) the annual floods far Your country has benefitted from natural conditions ...don't you think it is high time to start nurturing Nature sio as to increase the well-being of the Nilotic nation? If you cooperate with Egypt and the Congo , extra water from the Congo River can increase the benefits to all Nile people down to the Mediterranean sea. Is it a crime to take care of one's people ? President El Sisi has 90 million mouthsa to feed... Should we worry about droughts or should we prevent them . Just yesterday Egypt , Sudan and Ethiopia came to an understanding agreeement to be ratified by parliament ...Is cooperation a crime ...if three people do not have enough money to buy each his own it good or is it bad if they team together and share the owneership of the cow?
Re (4) Climate is changing willy nilly. Here in the US it does ...and in the US we are not affected by a Jonglei Canal . The environment is drying probably in your area the same way it dried for our ancestors when they lived in the present Sahara desert which was a savannah land then. They did not wring their hands and surrended to death. You are alive and Egyptians are alive ...because they took action. Thepretical economics is one thing ...real economics is a matter of life and death and conditions in between . Egypt was going to be hit by the IMF with impossible conditions if it asked for a major loan...but by talking to its brothers and sisters in othere lands , it solved its capitalization problems for a doubling of the canal of Suez and the project of connecting the congo to the Nile ...and of coopeerating with Ethiopia in the development of its industries and agriculture ...LOVE can perform can allow people to work . Hatred can pinpoint to errors and mistakes ...but all it can produce is death .
Join me in praying ....O God our Father ...give us this day ...enough bread ...for today...Amen
Michel G. Rabbat
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