Flooding In South Sudan Displaces Hundreds of Thousands

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UNMISS/JC McIlwaine

Hundreds of Thousands of Sudanese are displaced due to flooding.

South Sudan, a country in North Africa, has been experiencing its worst floods in about 60 years. These floods have impacted 850,000 people, and more than 35,000 people have been displaced. Their most recent flooding occurred in early June, lasted until September 2020, and was the worst flood South Sudan experienced in decades.

South Sudan has experienced many other floods, but this one was like no other. The floodwaters originated from the Nile River and swallowed up people’s homes and farms, up to the point where they had to travel around in canoes. Intense, heavy rains caused the problem and forced Sudan security to declare a state of emergency throughout the country for three months. Due to this rain, the water level in the Nile reached up to more than 17 meters, breaking all previous records. In that time, water-borne diseases have rapidly increased, and many other illnesses occurred, one after another.

The flooding started with mild rainfall and soon increased drastically. The rain started flooding small areas, which soon filled up the Nile, making the river overflow with excess water. Many people in South Sudan had never experienced flooding as bad as this one, and everyone was traumatized by how extensive the flooding was. Animals were hurt, too, with about 65,000 animals killed during the flood. Kids and adults still had to go to school and work while the town was flooded, and because of the floods, they had a difficult time getting around.

Fortunately, the water dried up soon, leaving the people to clean up the mess. Boxes and cans were everywhere, and the townspeople were sad to see how some of their houses had fallen to the ground. Luckily, some houses did manage to survive but were badly ruined by water damage. The flood left them with snakes, starvation, and even more diseases than before. To add to this, almost everyone in South Sudan had been displaced, leaving them seeking shelter at former schools or warehouses. As of late October, both the airstrip and infrastructure were submerged, cutting off all vital aid donations. People tried working together to help one another get better or tend to their wounds. We can only hope for the fast recovery of the towns of South Sudan in the aftermath of this terrible flooding.