Thousands stranded in South Sudan’s flooded areas

A woman and her family wade through a flooded plain to reach their home in Thaker, Unity state, South Sudan. [Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua]

Thousands of families are for months now stranded without support in Jonglei State’s capital, Bor in South Sudan as flood water continues to rise, activist reveals.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj this morning, Mr Bol Deng Bol, Secretary General for the civil society National Civil Alliance (NCA), condemned the government for leaving the poor to languish in the dirty floodwaters for months without intervention. 

“Things are very expensive. Many have taken advantage of this flood to increase the charges. In areas like Lekyak, Nigel, and Langbar, many people are still in floodwaters. They have been left to suffer there. They are willing to leave, but they cannot afford,” Mr Bol said. 

Mr Bol said that there was more suffering against government response.

“We thought the military will be deployed and money allocated to tackle the floods like what we saw in Sudan. But on the contrary, civilians have been left to suffer, and the work left to the aid agencies alone,” he stressed. 

Adding: “We want the government to evacuate the stranded families to higher grounds.”

Ms Deborah Schein, the United Nations Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS) head for the field office in Jonglei, said: “The situation is not good. People are suffering. People have been displaced by the floods. Unfortunately, we have seen people in the middle of the roads within Bor town.”

She decried the appalling situation in Bor, warning that the floods may pose health risks to the locals. 

“Water is not clean. Water has been pretty much stagnant. And we are worried about water-borne diseases and other problems, health problems. Again, we have COVID-19,” she said.   

The UN diplomat urged the government to embark on a long-term plan to address the recurring floods in Jonglei. 

In August, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) said at least 182,000 people have been left homeless following the July floods in Bor, with majority fleeing to neighbouring regions.

But as the level of floodwaters continues to rise, thousands more have been left stranded in the rising floodwaters in the state capital.

On November 12, this year, a State of Emergency declared by President Kiir to help tackle the floods and inter-communal violence in Greater Jonglei expired after three months. 

Mr Samuel Ateny Page, the head of floods taskforce in Jonglei, said the locals had been notified to vacate the floods hotspot areas by themselves since the government resource is over-stretched. 

Flood submerges huts in South Sudan. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)

More than 3,000 households lack food, shelter in Nyirol

About 3,100 households urgently need relief food and shelter in Nyirol County of Jonglei State after they were displaced by rising floods in Ayod County.

Local authorities say the displaced are mostly women and children.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, Mr Makuei Puok, the acting county commissioner, said the displaced did not get humanitarian assistance since they started arriving in the county’s Leek village in October.

“Since last month, we have received a total of 3,100 families from the areas of Mogog, Wau and Ayod. Those from the surrounding villages have also gone to the Leek area. Leek village is elevated,” Mr Makuei explained. In the settlement, there is no food, shelter, clean drinking water and access to basic healthcare services,” he said.

The Executive Director for the defunct Bieh State Secretariat, Mr Peter Mabil, appealed to the government and aid agencies in Jonglei to intervene by providing the flood victims with food and shelters. 

Majority of areas in parts of Jonglei have been overrun by floodwaters since July, leaving the locals vulnerable to harsh conditions.

According to the country’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), 350,000 people have been displaced by the floods across Jonglei, and they are in dire need of relief aid.

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