October 11, 2021 (BENTIU) – 90% of the population in South Sudan’s Unity State are homeless due to heavy floods, a senior government official said, painting a gloomy picture of the situation.
"This displacement is a massive one, since 90% of the people are displaced,” state governor, Joseph Monytuil told reporters in capital, Bentiu last week.
At least 623,000 people, the United Nations says, have been affected by widespread flooding in South Sudan since May, with Unity and Jonglei states representing 58% of flood affected victims.
“The magnitude of the disaster is overwhelming. We lost all we have and only trying to maintain Bentiu and facilities here,” said Monytuil.
He appealed for assistance for the population hit by heavy flooding.
Rivers, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a briefing last week, broke their banks following heavy rains, deluging houses and farms in eight of the 10 states.
Aid workers are using canoes and boats to reach stranded populations, with more than two-thirds of the affected areas now facing the risk of hunger as food prices shoot up, recording a 15-percent jump since August, it added.
“Schools, homes, health facilities and water sources were inundated, impacting people’s access to basic services,” partly reads the briefing, adding, “Physical access remained a major challenge for humanitarian organizations to assess and respond to the needs of flood-affected people.”
Some families have been able to flee to the capital, Juba, while others have set up makeshift camps along highways, grabbing what few possessions they could from the ruins of their flimsy thatched huts.
According to the UN, nearly half a million people are suffering because of floods, stressing that seasonal flooding in Sudan and South Sudan has devastated whole communities, where homes have been destroyed and farmland and livelihoods washed away.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesman, Jens Laerke said aid agencies are doing their best to provide emergency relief.
“Access is a major challenge though, with most of the flood-affected areas inaccessible by road, and the transport of aid by air is very costly.… Some of the flood-affected counties are also affected by ongoing violence, which creates significant challenges for the people affected and the humanitarians who try to respond to their needs,” he said.
Laerke said aid agencies have delivered food, water purification tablets, plastic sheeting for temporary shelter, mosquito nets and medical and other supplies, but resources are limited and must be replenished.
According to the official, lack of money is hampering the operation, with only 61% of this year’s $1.7-billion South Sudan appeal met.