3 August 2014

South Sudan: Over 40,000 People Displaced As Fresh Flooding Hits Unity State

Kampala — Fresh flooding has displaced 42,000 people over the past week in Unity state's Mayom county after the region was hit by heavy rainfall.

Wangkei, Riak and Wichok payams (districts) are among the worst-affected areas.

Rebel officials in the area told Sudan Tribune that many areas had been inundated by flood waters, saying the situation was threatening the lives of thousands of people.

Peter Dak Khan, an MP from Mayom county who joined the rebel faction, said many civilians had been forced from their homes due to the heavy flooding and were now seeking shelter on higher ground.

He also expressed concerns over the humanitarian situation in the area, saying many residents lacked shelter and were also facing hunger.

"We are much worried about such a big number of people that are forced to abandon their homes by floods, some crops they cultivated are now spoiled and rounded up by water," said Khan.

He told Sudan Tribune that malaria cases are now on the rise, particularly among children and pregnant mothers. The situation has also raised fears of the spread of waterborne diseases due to poor health and sanitation in the area.

"These people have no access to health facilities, which is endangering their status," he said, calling on international agencies to step in and provide medical and relief supplies in the region.

However, he said access to the area would continue to hamper any humanitarian intervention to affected communities, with heavy flood waters cutting roads.

Unity state experiences reoccurring flooding, particularly during the rainy season when the White Nile often overflows in low-lying areas.

Last year, over 100,000 households were affected by food insecurity due to flooding in Rubkotna, Guit, Mayom, Mayiandit, Parieng and Payinjiar counties.

Most of the flood-affected areas have also been hard-hit by ongoing conflict in the state between government troops loyal to president Kiir and rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar, with many civilians fleeing to remotes areas with little or no access to medical facilities.

The ongoing conflict has severely disrupted crop planting, leading to critical food shortages.

The United Nations has continued to warn of a looming famine in South Sudan if unless the warring parties reach a peaceful settlement.

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