The worst flooding that parts of South Sudan have seen in 60 years now drowns the homes of 700,000 people, according to the UN’s latest reports.
This is the third straight year of extreme flooding in South Sudan, further imperilling the livelihoods of many of the 11 million people in the world’s youngest country.
A five-year civil war, hunger and corruption challenge the nation, which gained independence from Sudan 10 years ago. Now climate change, which the United Nations has blamed for the flooding, is impossible to ignore.
Faith Kasina, the regional spokesperson for UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in East Africa, said: “As UNHCR we are seeing this as [an] intensive, fine effect of climate change. South Sudan has been very prone to cyclical droughts and floods, sometimes happening at the same time in a year, and this is nothing but just the effects of a change in the climate.”
Adesh Tripathee, regional head of disaster and climate crisis for Sub-Saharan Africa at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), warned that “serious floods” were a problem across the country.
“Eight states out of 10 are affected by floods and more than 700,000 [people] right now are affected by floods. Those people are also affected by drought and many other crises, so there is a critical humanitarian situation in southern Sudan,” Tripathee said.
Hundreds of thousands affected
In Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state, the Lol River has burst its banks. The state is usually spared from extreme flooding that plagues the South Sudanese states of Jonglei and Unity that border the White Nile and the Sudd marshlands. But now, houses and crops have been swamped.
A new report this week coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization warned of increasing such climate shocks to come across much of Africa, the continent that contributes the least to global warming but will suffer from it most.