16th July 2024
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Flooding to affect over 3 million in South Sudan: aid group

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Friday, June 28, 2024

Internally displaced people use a boat in flooded Tong village in Bentiu, South Sudan on February 7, 2023. PHOTO | SIMON MAINA | AFP

An independent data provider has warned that more than 3 million people will be impacted by a major flood event in South Sudan in the second half of 2024, many of whom will need humanitarian assistance.

IMPACT Initiatives said by September and October, when floodwaters have peaked, relief actors will grapple with a scenario in which more than three million people are affected and 2.4 million need aid.

“Major flooding is all but certain to trigger widespread displacement and result in excess loss of life,” the group said in its emergency alert.

The Geneva-based group said preliminary signs of flood are already visible, with breached dykes in Unity and Western Bahr El Gazal states, serving as early indicators of what could unfold in the coming months.

Government ministries have already called for preparations against the imminent flooding in the northern and central parts of South Sudan after record rise in Lake Victoria water level.

According to the IGAD climate center (ICPAC), the current rainy season in the Greater Lakes region indicates potential increase in volumes of water in rivers and lakes in Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and DRC.

In Panyijiar County of Unity State, an estimated 5,000 people have already been displaced after rising Nile water submerged homesteads, farms and pasturelands, according to the UN humanitarian agency.

UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said severe flooding is expected to hit 20 counties in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Warrap, Jonglei, Central Equatoria, and Upper Nile states in the coming months.

The UN humanitarian agency said the country also faces a “perfect storm” in the face of violence, an economic crisis, underfunding of the humanitarian response and an influx of new arrivals due to the conflict in neighboring Sudan.

Meanwhile, IMPACT underscored that the “disastrous and longstanding humanitarian impacts” of the consecutive years of severe flooding between 2019 and 2022, signal what the projected situation could look like.

The emergency alert further cited critical rates of acute malnutrition in areas along the Nile, expressing particular concern for high density displacement sites, where it said the situation may have already crossed the extremely critical threshold.

“In a country highly vulnerable to climate change and with critical rates of acute malnutrition and more than 700,000 people displaced from Sudan, scaling up emergency aid is essential to support the collaborative efforts of the government and humanitarian partners,” said Guillaume Pocard, Country Coordinator for South Sudan.

“Currently, less than 20% of the humanitarian response is funded, putting South Sudan on a trajectory towards a catastrophic level of humanitarian needs.”

Mr. Pocard said the underfunding of frontline aid agencies amid worsening humanitarian crisis would have far-reaching implications for the entire region.

While stressing emergency aid, he also stated that longer-term support will also be needed to rebuild livelihoods and enable greater resilience to future flooding.


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