Across Jonglei and Unity State, homes and clinics have been submerged, communities have been stranded and animals “lie dead in the fields”, WFP said in a statement. Schools that were due to open next week “are filled with the homeless”.
Torrential rains and flooding
across South Sudan have created the threat of “catastrophic” levels of hunger
and left hundreds of thousands homeless, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.
Some 700,000 people are in crisis
after floodwaters swept across the country, submerging villages, land and livestock,
according to an alert by the World Food Programme (WFP).
Across Jonglei and Unity State,
homes and clinics have been submerged, communities have been stranded and
animals “lie dead in the fields”, WFP said in a statement. Schools that were
due to open next week “are filled with the homeless”.
Matthew Hollingworth, the WFP Country
Director in South Sudan described the flooding as likely the worst in 60 years
and explained that this year’s rains had begun before last year’s floodwaters
had receded fully.
“There is a very significant
flood, which is covering vast areas of the country”, said Hollingworth. “More
than 36 counties of the country are under water, submerging entire villages,
homes, farmsteads, killing livestock and putting an end to livelihoods.”
Some 5.5 million people in the
country need humanitarian assistance, according to WFP, representing half the
total population. WFP is particularly concerned
that crops have been lost in 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.
“We’ve seen, harvests being
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.
That comes in addition to what we saw very similar last year,” Hollingworth
He added that the flooding crisis
is coming on top of a very grim hunger situation in Jonglei, where already 1.4
million people were suffering from acute and severe hunger, in addition to over
300,000 children under five who are acutely malnourished.
The development adds to the
challenges facing South Sudan’s people, where years of civil war,
inter-communal conflict, political infighting and corruption have rendered the
country vulnerable to natural disasters.
To help half a million people
more than we would usually, WFP has appealed for USD 58 million to support
assistance for the coming six months. This will help to fund assistance by air
and boat to areas that are completely cut off, Hollingworth explained,
including communities whose crops have been destroyed by the flooding.
He warned that it was crucially
important to provide support to host communities that had to cope with people
displaced by flooding or violence to prevent further tensions and flare-ups, as
the country continues to make gradual progress on implementing the 2018 peace