Rising floodwaters surround aid camp in South Sudan putting tens of thousands at risk
Aid workers are concerned that the mud dikes could soon fail, stranding tens of thousands of youngsters in 1.5m-deep murky water.
The 100,000 people living in rows upon rows of scruffy NGO tents in South Sudan’s Bentiu IDP camp were already in a dire state at the start of the year. However, when the worst floods in six decades hit, it became terrible.
Aid workers believe that another 30,000 people have arrived in the camp, fleeing the soggy ground all around. Because the catastrophic flooding has shut off the local sewage facility, just one out of every ten toilets on the site is now operational, and clean water supplies are considerably below emergency standards.
“These dikes effectively safeguard us as an island,” Jacob Goldberg, medical emergency manager at Doctors Without Borders (MSF), told The Telegraph.
“The dikes stand three meters tall. Inside the camp, the water level had risen to 1.5 meters above ground level. It’s a really concerning issue. Mr. Goldberg said the water level is progressively increasing by two to three millimeters every day.
“People are now drinking stagnant water, which presents a significant health risk.”
A dike near the camp had already broken earlier in November, and the danger of those surrounding the camp breaching is “great,” according to MSF.
The assistance group also said that food was a major issue. Because to financial constraints, World Food Program rations were reduced to 50% of the required amount in April 2021. These do not account for the thousands of newcomers.
The floods have affected an estimated 780,000 people in South Sudan. Climate warming has been blamed squarely for three years of catastrophic floods, according to the UN.
“The nation is on the front lines of a climate emergency, where the people suffer collateral damage in a fight they did not choose,” UNHCR representative in South Sudan Arafat Jamal said last month.
A decade after gaining independence after a brutal war, South Sudan confronts the prospect of violence, climate change, and Covid-19. For the most basic of services, a large portion of the population relies on foreign food handouts and relief organizations.
South Sudan generates around 3.5 billion barrels of oil per year. However, most of this money is devoured by corruption before it reaches regular folks.
The United Kingdom, formerly a major contributor to South Sudan, reduced its assistance money to the nation by half this year, from £135 million in 2020 to £68 million this year.