Press Release

Operational update on South Sudan’s floods: floods intensify impact of hunger and insecurity

Juba (ICRC) – Massive flooding that residents say they haven’t seen before has left hundreds of thousands of people displaced with little or no means to survive across different parts of South Sudan. Insecurity caused by recurrent cycles of armed violence as well as the immense logistical difficulties of reaching isolated communities has further complicated efforts to reach the 1 million people affected.

To meet their urgent needs, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has stepped up its response. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal seeking a total of 2.7 million Swiss francs to support the efforts of the SSRC to deliver assistance to over 117,000 people affected by floods in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Lakes and Unity states. As part as this response, the South Sudan Red Cross (SSRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) managed to reach out and assist 72,000 people in remote areas of these same four states.

“I am now 48 years. I have never witnessed such kinds of floods in my entire life. If these floods continue like this, nobody will stay around Ganyiel,” said James Boarwun, a community leader in Ganyiel, Unity state. “All animals have died, food has been wiped out. People are tired and had sought refuge on higher grounds. We are suffering,” he said. 

Groups of thousands of displaced people in at least four states of South Sudan are facing increasing risks of hunger and diseases, and do not have adequate medical care. “If armed violence were to resume with the onset of the dry season, the humanitarian consequences for affected communities would most likely be dramatic,” said Dusan Vukotic, the head of ICRC’s Economic Security programme in South Sudan.

“Many of our volunteers and staff have been affected by these devastating floods. Despite extremely difficult circumstances, they have remained persistent and committed to our response,” said John Lobor, SSRC Secretary General. “Continued support from communities and authorities as well as funding from local and international partners is essential for the Red Cross Movement to be able to continue to meet essential needs.”

HUMANITARIAN CONCERNS

  • Access to the affected communities remains extremely complicated due to the floods and the security context. Huge logistical efforts are needed to reach the most isolated and vulnerable communities that have been displaced by floods, conflict and armed violence.
  • Our teams in the field have witnessed groups of thousands of displaced people, especially in Pibor County, Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA), that are increasingly not able to meet their basic needs. The situation is deeply concerning and communities are in urgent need of assistance.
  • Water sources have been contaminated by floods and communities are increasingly at risk of water-borne diseases.
  • The already fragile healthcare system has been impacted by the floods and are therefore not always functional. In addition, people being displaced, often in remote areas, do not have access to healthcare and are put further at risk.
  • With the onset of the dry season, and if armed violence were to resume in some of the affected communities, humanitarian needs could drastically increase with communities most likely facing immediate life-threatening situations.

OPERATIONAL NOTES

  • Between early October and mid-December, the SSRC with the support of the ICRC assisted over 72’000 people in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Lakes and Unity states.
  • Within the flood response operation, the SSRC, distributed a total of 1’231 metric tons of essential food items such as sorghum, beans, oil, salt and sugar. Essential household items were also distributed, including 34’449 blankets, 22’966 buckets, 34’449 sleeping mats, 22’966 mosquito nets, 34’449 bars of soap, 11’483 tarpaulins and 9’138 kitchen sets, 72’000 Pur sachets and 60’000 Aquatabs (water purifiers).
  • The SSRC and the ICRC provided 2,000 litres of fuel supporting the local authorities’ efforts in Bor town, Jonglei state, on constructing protection dykes benefiting 1’200 people. Six hand pumps have already been repaired nearby 4 IDPs settlement camps in Bor town benefiting over 6’500 people.
  • The IFRC has launched an Emergency Appeal seeking a total of 2.7 million Swiss francs to support the efforts of the SSRC to deliver assistance to over 117,000 people affected by floods in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Lakes and Unity states of South Sudan.
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