Weeks of heavy rain have caused unrelenting floods, affecting more than 700,000 people across the country, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative, Arafat Jamal has said.
UNHCR and humanitarian partners are helping the South Sudanese authorities deliver much needed support to the most affected people, including hygiene items, food, emergency shelter and solar lanterns to provide light.
The floods have primarily affected four states. “In some areas, communities have not seen flooding to this extent since 1962,” said Jamal, who is also the interim UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country. Meanwhile, other areas have seen three years of consecutive flooding. Jamal said that climatic stresses can also provoke inter-communal conflict.
Flooding and drought sometimes occur within the same year, forcing communities to seek and share refuge in ever-shrinking patches of higher ground, while also trying to make up for lost income. Jamal said that “dialogue between host and displaced communities who share resources, will continue to be essential”.
With rains in South Sudan expected to continue for the remainder of 2021, Jamal said the number of people needing humanitarian aid is also expected to increase.