Concern Worldwide has launched an enhanced emergency response in South Sudan after hundreds of thousands of people were forced from their homes by the worst floods in almost 60 years.
“The magnitude of the flooding this year has been immense,” Concern’s Country Director in South Sudan, Shumon Sengupta said. “Over 200,000 people – more than a quarter of the local population in Unity State – have been forced to leave their homes as a result of rising flood waters”.
“There has not been flooding on this scale in the region since 1962, according to local records, and despite agencies like Concern Worldwide working tirelessly to respond to the escalating humanitarian crisis, (with financial assistance of donors such as BHA/USAID, ECHO, GAC, EFP and UNICEF), the needs far exceed the current scale of the humanitarian response, both within and outside the camps for internally displaced people (IDP)”.
“Families have been displaced and are sheltering on higher ground, in public buildings or with neighbours or family. Access to basic services including health and nutrition support has been disrupted as clinics have been damaged, submerged in floodwaters, or are inaccessible.”
Without access to basic services, and a weakened infrastructure to support those in need of medical assistance, increasing incidence of Hepatitis E, Malaria and diarrhoeal diseases, and related malnutrition is inevitable , Mr Sengupta warned. Crops and livelihoods have been destroyed, intensifying the already urgent issue of food insecurity and malnutrition.
Even prior to the flooding, Unity State had extensive humanitarian needs, with two-thirds of the population facing crisis or emergency levels of acute food insecurity. “Tension among communities has also increased due to pressure on limited resources and further aggravation of the need for humanitarian assistance,” Mr Sengupta said.
Outside the IDP camps, with support from institutional donors, and €150,000 from Concern’s emergency fund, its team is responding to meet the needs of 32,000 flood affected people by :
·Supporting the government and humanitarian partners in the construction and maintenance of dykes surrounding health and nutrition centres;
·Continuing the delivery of life-saving nutrition support to malnourished women and children in temporary locations;
·Accessing villages that have been cut-off, using canoes to deliver essential medical supplies;
·Distributing cash to affected populations to support them in meeting their basic needs;
·Distributing of shelter and non-food materials including mats, mosquito nets, blankets and cooking utensils; and water and sanitation items including, water purification tablets, plastic sheeting, jerry cans and buckets;
·Expanding cash assistance and delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene items and shelter materials s to 19,000 additional beneficiaries.
Nyaguande*, a 35-year-old mother-of-six, and her family had to leave their home after flood waters submerged it. Along with elderly relatives, they made a five-day, 83 kilometre trek, wading through waist-high water to reach safety in Bieh, where the Concern Worldwide are providing support to her and other families in her position.
“When the flooding submerged our home, we lost everything including livestock and farm produce. The road to Bieh is all covered with water to waist level (approx. 1.5m high) making movement slow and tiring. We had insufficient food because we couldn’t carry enough by ourselves and our children started suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.’’
For media queries contact Eamon Timmins, Media Relations Manager, Concern Worldwide at firstname.lastname@example.org or 087 9880524
* Name changed to protect the identity of the beneficiary.
By: Eamon Timmins