The United Nations have announced that more than 700,000 South Sudanese have been affected by what seem set to become the worst floods in 60 years in South Sudan.
Children playing inside water after floods in Panyijiar county of Unity state (Photo credit: CPA)
The United Nations reports that the humanitarian conditions are rapidly deteriorating as conflict, torrential rain and flooding disrupt people’s access to food.
“About 700,000 people are in dire straits as unprecedented flooding sweeps across the country, submerging whole villages, homes, farmlands, livestock and livelihoods.” Said the world food program representative and country director South Sudan, Matthew Holling worth.
The worst hit states are Jonglei and Unity State where homes and clinics have been submerged, communities have been stranded and animals “lie dead in the fields.”
The World Food Program said in a statement that schools that were due to open next week “are filled with the homeless.”
WFP is particularly concerned that crops have been lost in the worst affected Jonglei state, where 85,000 people have been displaced by rising waters and some 230,000 people have experienced flooding more than once.
The world food program representative and country director South Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth, noted that harvests have been decimated in Jonglei state and 45 per cent of all the land that was planted with cereals and sorghum – the mainstay of the diet – have been lost this year.
“This flooding crisis is coming on top of a very grim hunger situation in Jonglei, where already this year 1.4 million people were suffering from acute and severe hunger, in addition to over 300,000 children under five who are acutely malnourished.” Mr. Hollingworth said.
The World food program further noted that over 5.5 million people in the country need humanitarian assistance, this represents half the total population.
World food program has appealed for $58 million to support half a million affected people in the area for six months.
The world food program representative insisted that it is important to be able to encourage the people to return to their homes and to their livelihoods.
While visiting Bor, he commended the people of South Sudan for bracing themselves during these crises.
“This is the community of Bor working together to fix a critical part of the dyke of the levy that broke because of the flooding this season.” Mr. Hollingworth said.
The WFP representative added that it is hard to get data at the moment to confirm the severity of the situation.
“We’ve been seeing natural disasters, we’ve been seeing conflicts displacing people, that is the situation we’re in right now. We have yet to get data back to confirm how bad it will be, but I think we all need to prepare ourselves that we must do everything in our power to avoid famine and to avoid the levels of hunger – the catastrophic hunger – that we’ve seen sadly in the past in this country.” He said.