Sudan Refugee Camp Infrastructure Destroyed by Floods

A recent report by IRIN news has described how the August floods have affected the UN refugee camp in Bentiu, South Sudan.

Around 47,000 people are living in the camp, with more arriving every day. The heavy rainfall and floods during August destroyed vital personal belongings of many of the residents, including mattresses and clothes. Replacements are virtually impossible to come by. During the height of the storms, some people slept standing up for weeks at a time. Much of the camp is still swamped in stagnant water left over from the earlier rains.

Bentiu refugee camp under water, August 2014. Image taken from video by CARE International
Bentiu refugee camp under water, August 2014. Image taken from video by CARE International

The flooding destroyed much of the camp’s infrastructure. Toilet blocks and latrines were completely destroyed. The camps desperately needs hundreds of new latrines – over 150 people are now forced to share one latrine between them.

Photo: Andrew Green/IRIN Heavy rains have left parts of the camp under stagnant water
Photo: Andrew Green/IRIN
Heavy rains have left parts of the camp under stagnant water

According to the IRIN report:

Elizabeth Nyadom is sharing a shack with her sister and their combined eight children in the middle of the PoC. They came in May because Nyadom’s oldest son, James, is handicapped and cannot move easily. It was becoming more and more difficult to find someone to carry him to safety each time fighting broke out.

A foul-smelling pond laps against their door. Every time it rains, the two sisters hurriedly scoop water out of the hut. While they work, their children, including James, crowd onto their only bed. If the water ever climbs above the height of the bedframe, Nyadom would not be able to rescue all of the children from drowning.

“Sometimes we have to stay for the whole night removing water,” she said. But at the moment that is not her main problem. A health worker had diagnosed one of her other sons, Gatwich, with malaria, but the clinic was out of medicine. She had to dip into their small store of money to pay for his treatment. If anything else goes wrong, she will have to start selling their food rations.

Still, she has nothing but praise for the humanitarian groups that are working in the camp. “They are doing a good job,” she told IRIN, “it’s just that there are too many people and too much rain.”

See the full report from IRIN News here.