• Since July 2019, South Sudan has experienced unusually heavy rainfall and flooding, affecting an estimated 908,000 people. On 27 October, the Government of South Sudan declared a state of emergency in the areas affected by flooding.
• At least 620,000 people need immediate humanitarian assistance. A coordinated response scale-up is ongoing in priority locations, including most recently flooded counties in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile.
• Immediate priorities include delivering multi-sector flood rapid response kits, food and health support to most affected families, followed by restoring critical water, health, nutrition and education infrastructure, and people’s food security and livelihoods.
• US$ 61.5 million is required to respond to immediate flood-induced needs and ensure the continuity of the response following the peak period. Over 75 per cent of required funds have been committed.
Abnormally heavy seasonal flooding has been devastating large areas of South Sudan since July 2019, with an estimated 908,000 people affected. This includes internally displaced people, refugees and their host communities across some 30 counties in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Lakes, and Central and Eastern Equatoria. The rains are likely to continue until December 2019 and put more people at risk. The Government of South Sudan declared a state of emergency in the flooded areas on 27 October.
The floods have affected areas already experiencing high levels of vulnerability due to the legacy of years of conflict and access constraints, placing affected people at a greater humanitarian risk. Across the flooded counties, more than 3 million people needed assistance even before the rains. More than 60 per cent of the flood-affected counties are currently classified as facing extreme levels of acute malnutrition. The flooding has submerged entire communities and rendered basic services and markets destroyed or inaccessible. An estimated 42 nutrition centres have suspended their services. Countless health facilities and schools are filled with water. People are extremely vulnerable to malaria and water-borne disease outbreaks, such as Cholera, as a result of the flooding. Displaced people are especially at risk as they are exposed to the elements without shelter or household items such as mosquito nets. Access to hygiene and sanitation is limited, especially for women and girls who also face additional protection risks.
Preliminary forecasts show that 74,157 hectares of cultivated land has been damaged due to flooding, with an estimated loss of 72,611 metric tons of cereals. This represents approximately 15 per cent loss in production in the affected areas.
On average, vulnerable households in South Sudan need support to fill the hunger gap–defined as the period when households run out of stored food and the next harvest–typically between March and August. The impact of the flooding and crop losses will result in a lean season starting as early as January 2020. The increased food production gap in heavily flooded areas could increase needs throughout the year and thus require more food commodities to be delivered, just-in-time before the rains begin again after the first quarter of 2020. Additionally, as the scale and extent of the flooding has critically impacted physical access across the country, and the water is likely to take months to disperse, the window for prepositioning of food commodities throughout the country will drastically shorten.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.