Floods in South Sudan have increased the woes of those communities displaced by the civil war.
Amongst the turmoil of civil war in one of the world’s youngest countries, flooding has added to the misery of some of the 700,000 internally displaced people (IDP) in South Sudan.
On the night of Friday 7 March 2014, heavy rain and strong wind struck the capital city, Juba, leaving extensive areas of one of the two IDP sites immersed in floodwaters and thick mud.
The storm, which lasted only an hour, flattened 646 shelters in the U.N. Tomping Displacement Camp, leaving 8,000 of the 23,000 residents living in flood conditions. Concerned that further rains would worsen conditions, as another big storm was expected, UN International Rescue Committee (IRC) staff have recommended that 10,000 people relocate to the other IDP site in Juba, “UN House”, but people are reluctant to move, said IRC South Sudan Country Director Wendy Taeuber.
Meanwile, communities that fled to swampy areas in South Sudan’s Jonglei state after civil strife swept the country in mid-December have been displaced for the second time in three months by rising floodwaters.
It was reported last week that chiefs of Bor county met with their communities in Malual, Laguli, Mathiang and the Toc area, to decide where to locate to. One of the chiefs, Gabriel Pandek, said that flooding was exacerbating existing problems arising from crowded conditions and the lack of basic sanitation.
He estimated that there are some 67,000 families living in the Toc area, stretching along the Nile River from Pariak to near Gemeza in Central Equatoria state.
“Already there was population pressure in the places we lived. Too many people in small areas, sanitation was our initial problem … Now there is [a] flood,” he said.