Official says at least 20 people have died in flooding in recent months amid torrential rains that still plague a remote part of South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan – At least 20 people have died in flooding in recent months amid torrential rains that still afflict a remote part of South Sudan, an official said on Thursday.
The deaths between July and September occurred in a county in Warrap state, Gorial West County Commissioner Victor Wek Koor said.
Among the victims are children who drowned when a waterlogged house collapsed, he said.
Officials in other regions did not cite any flood-related deaths.
Many parts of South Sudan have been affected by flooding since July and some areas are currently submerged. The States of Unity and Jonglei are among the most affected. Even President Salva Kiir’s residence in northwestern Warrap state is flooded, according to Information Minister Michael Makuei.
A group chaired by First Vice President Riek Machar last week declared a national emergency due to flooding across the country.
Wek said 17,000 people were displaced by the flooding in his county, which is home to more than 240,000 people. Homeless people take refuge in mountainous regions and along roads.
Some local people who spoke to The Associated Press described a dire situation as floodwaters rise and rivers flood farmland, engulfing livestock.
Deng John, a resident of Gogrial West who lost a sister in the floods, said the situation looked like a “disaster”.
South Sudan, the youngest country in the world, is particularly prone to flooding when the Nile overflows from its banks.
The floods have displaced an estimated 426,000 people across the country since May, according to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs.
The United Nations World Food Program said earlier this month it had suspended food aid to more than 100,000 internally displaced people, warning of further cuts unless it received more money. .
Since gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan has faced multiple political crises and has struggled to recover from the aftermath of a civil war that has claimed nearly 400,000 lives.
A fragile power-sharing deal between President Kiir and his deputy Machar still largely stands, although little progress has been made in meeting its conditions.