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Nearly 1 million people affected by floods in S. Sudan: OCHA

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October 27, 2019 (JUBA) - Nearly a million people in South Sudan have been affected by heavy flooding, United Nations said.

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Heavy rain in July flooded the temporary shelters of displaced people at a UNMISS camp in Unity state’s Rubkotna area (Facebook photo)

The UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Friday said severe floods have devastated large areas of the country since July, submerging entire communities and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.

An estimated 908,000 people, it said, have been affected, including internally displaced people, refugees and their host communities in a country already hit by years of ruinous civil war that caused mass displacement and wrecked its economy.

Alain Noudeho, OCHA humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, said the situation is "extremely” concerning as rains are likely to continue for another four to six weeks and put more people at risk.

Floods have also limited access to health facilities, nutrition centres, basic services and markets, the agency said.

Across the 32 flooded counties in South Sudan’s Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap, Eastern Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity and Lakes region, more than three million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance even before the rains, according to OCHA.

Many affected areas, it said, were already facing high humanitarian needs before the flooding started, with more than 60 per cent of them classified as having extreme levels of acute malnutrition.

In addition, the crisis will not be over when the water levels recede because considerable damage to crops, arable land and livestock is anticipated, the UN warned. This will obstruct the ability of families to support themselves for months to come, it added.

Separately, an aid agency warned that approximately 800,000 people are at risk of disease and extreme hunger as a result of devastating floods that have hit the war-torn East African country.

Oxfam, in a statement, said with heavy rains forecast for at least another two weeks, the situation is likely to get much worse before it gets better and the risk of a major outbreak of waterborne diseases including cholera increases by the day.

“The scale of these floods is unexpected; at this time of the year in South Sudan, the dry season is usually about to start. The cruel fact is that thousands of people in the areas hardest hit by the floods were already going hungry. People who were struggling to survive have had what little they had washed away by this extreme weather,” said Sajit Menon, Oxfam humanitarian manager in South Sudan.

The aid agency, however, said, it is assessing the needs of those worst hit by the floods. In the coming days, together with other agencies, it will start distributing temporary sheeting, soap, buckets and other hygiene items, to over 45,000 people in Lankien, Akobo and Pibor.

Meanwhile, Oxfam says it needs $5 million to help the people worst affected.

(ST)

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