JUBA, South Sudan – More than 100,000 flood victims in South Sudan have received lifesaving help from UNICEF since the crisis started in October 2019, the UN Children’s Fund said today. Over 900,000 people, including 490,000 children, have been affected by unprecedented rainfall causing flooding in 78 counties - mainly in the eastern part of the country. On 29 October, the President of South Sudan declared a state of emergency in several affected counties.
Ensuring access to clean water has been one of UNICEF’s main priorities, as many water points have been contaminated by the flood water. To date, 31,000 people have been provided with clean drinking water through water treatment tablets and the rehabilitation of water points, as and where water levels have allowed for such. UNICEF and its partners have also provided hygiene items such as soap, buckets and jerrycans, allowing people to maintain good hygiene practices in a situation where waterborne diseases are common.
“The flood water is a dangerous cocktail of bacteria from various sources causing diseases and death on top of an already difficult situation,” said UNICEF South Sudan Representative Dr Mohamed Ag Ayoya. “Protecting people from the dangerous water is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of preventing an already serious situation from becoming worse.”
The restoration and continuation of health and nutrition services is a vital priority for UNICEF. Makeshift health and nutrition centers have been established in tents, under mango trees and where dry land has been identified. In some of the flooded areas, it has been challenging to find suitable dry patches of land to continue services. Yet, UNICEF and its partners have provided health services to some 7,000 people and nutrition services to over 100,000 people.
Flooded schools, classrooms used as shelter and displaced teachers put final exams for primary school at risk, meaning a whole year of education would be lost for the students affected. Together with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and its partners have set up temporary classroom facilities and transported examination papers allowing students to complete their exams.
Furthermore, 60,000 children have been provided with education materials allowing learning to continue. Over 18,000 children have received psychosocial support, and 450 unaccompanied and separated children have been registered for family tracing and reunification support.
“While addressing the most immediate needs caused by the floods, we must mitigate the long-term impact of the crisis simultaneously,” said Ayoya. “I’m glad we were able to pull off the final exams for the students. Failing to do so would have meant student repeating an entire year at school and futures put on hold. Now, we need to make sure the unaccompanied children are safely reunited with their families.”
UNICEF and partners’ flood response per end of November, included:
- 7,021 people provided with health services;
- 1,351 children aged 6 months to 15 years vaccinated against measles;
- 3,660 pregnant women provided with insecticide-treated nets;
- 4,640 children aged 6 - 59 months treated for acute malnutrition;
- 31,000 people provided with access to safe drinking water;
- 26,514 people reached with hygiene promotion messages and provided with jerrycans, buckets, soap and water treatment chemicals;
- 59,599 children reached with education support;
- 18,205 children received psychosocial support in child-friendly spaces, schools and through community-based interventions;
- 450 unaccompanied and separated children registered for Family Tracing and Reunification services.
UNICEF has appealed for US$10 million to respond to the most immediate needs for children and women affected by the floods in South Sudan.
Photos and videos are available here.