The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is seeking to raise $58 Million USD in additional aid to meet the crisis brought on in South Sudan due to crop infestation by locusts, the COVID-19 health crisis, and loss of crops and livestock due to heavy rainfall that is estimated to be the worst in 60 years.
Years of civil war, inter-communal conflict, political infighting and corruption have undermined the country’s ability to cope with natural disasters. Delivery of humanitarian services has been curtailed by both internal conflict and flooding.
Over 700,000 people have been affected by the current flooding in 36 counties throughout the country but almost 5.5 million people in the country, or half the country’s population, require humanitarian assistance, according to the WFP.
The agency reports that this year’s rains began before last year’s “unprecedented” flood waters had fully receded. Communities have been stranded and animals are lying dead in fields. Schools are being used to house homeless.
With the major portion of the rainy season still ahead, it is expected that this year’s crisis will be even more severe than 2019.
In Jonglei state, the worst affected by the rain, 85,000 people have been displaced by rising waters and about 230,000 people have experienced flooding more than once. An estimated 45 Percent of all cereal crops have been lost this year. Already 1.4 million people were suffering from acute hunger, with over 300,000 children under the age of five being acutely malnourished.
The requested funding will be directed at efforts to support an additional 500,000 people, with assistance to be delivered by air and boat where the areas are totally inaccessible. In addition, resources will be directed to communities that host IDP camps and to prevention of violence.
The immediate issue is to stem any further development of hunger and disease; in the longer-term, resources will be directed to returning populations to their homes and livelihoods.