WARRAP STATE, South Sudan (Reuters) – James Athian and his nine children have been living in a makeshift camp in South Sudan’s Warrap state for two months since floods destroyed their house.
Athian and his family are among the 377,300 people displaced by floods and violence in Warrap since July, the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. Nationwide, more than one million people have been temporarily forced from their homes.
“I have nine children and every time they get sick of malaria. (There is) no food and no good place to sleep,” Athian told Reuters, standing near submerged houses in his village of Mangar Ajak.
Before the flooding, oil-producing South Sudan had already gone through five years of civil war, which ended in 2018 with a fragile peace deal.
The worst rains in living memory have meant that roughly half of South Sudan’s 78 counties have large swathes of land under water, the U.N. says.
Aleu Akol, 59, who has been at Mangar Ajak for one-and-a-half months, said people received aid from humanitarian organisations, but he had to find other means to supplement that.
“We fish in this water to survive because I don’t have work that can generate income. See, my legs are swelling from (being in) the water,” he said.
Attacks by bandits and ethnic militias are still common, compounding the effects of the floods.
“People are being killed randomly and insecurity is so bad that people were not able to cultivate (their crops) in May,” Moses Athian Paul, coordinator of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission of Warrap’s Tonj County, said.
“If people don’t get food from the government of the World Food Programme by February, many will die of hunger.”
(Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Mike Collett-White)