Several communities in South Sudan’s northern state of Unity have been cut off from food supplies and other essential commodities because of severe flooding, Tungwar Kueigwong, the state’s minister of land, housing and public utilities has said.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported in October that more than 700,000 people have been affected by the worst flooding in the country for nearly 60 years, blaming climate change.
Across Unity, which borders Sudan, the floods have caused food shortages, malnutrition in children, and the spread of diseases like malaria.
According to him, the region’s oil fields have contaminated the water, leading to the deaths of domestic animals.
Flood-related challenges, like food shortages and illnesses, are putting pressure on local health facilities, according to the international charity, Médecins Sans Frontières, which operates there.
“We are extremely concerned about malnutrition, with severe acute malnutrition levels two times the WHO threshold, and the number of children admitted to our hospital with severe malnutrition doubling since the start of the floods,” MSF said.
South Sudan faces conflict, climate change, and COVID-19 nearly a decade after it gained independence following a war, the outgoing head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan said in March.
Almost all of the population depends on international food aid, and most basic services such as health and education are provided by United Nations agencies.
The disaster strikes in a country where 60% of the 12 million inhabitants are already hungry. There are about 1.4 million children under five who are acutely malnourished. A number of small farmers have suffered setbacks due to violence and civil war.
As a result of climate change, droughts and floods are becoming more severe: “In South Sudan, extreme flooding is destroying livelihoods: the size and length of floods are becoming increasingly extreme. This means that harvests and incomes have shrunk, leading to increased hunger and desperation,” says Bettina Iseli, Programme Director for Welthungerhilfe.
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