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Malnutrition, malaria and mass displacement on the rise as South Sudan suffers the worst floods in decades



Malnutrition, malaria and mass displacement on the rise as South Sudan suffers the worst floods in decades

The risk of outbreaks of deadly diseases like cholera is high, with an outbreak of hepatitis E still ongoing

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 18, 2021 / APO Group / –

780,000 people have been affected by some of the worst floods to hit South Sudan in decades (OCHA). Water levels in many areas are still on the rise and weather forecasts indicate more rain is to come. This is the third consecutive year of extreme flooding in South Sudan, further affecting many of the 11 million people in the country who are already in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. People’s homes and livelihoods, as well as health facilities, schools and markets are overwhelmed.

People need immediate assistance, including medical care, food, clean water and non-food items like shelters, mosquito nets and cooking pots. Access, which is a year-round challenge in South Sudan, is further worsened by flooding, making it more difficult for people to access basic vital services, as well as for humanitarian actors to reach them directly. with much of the flood-affected areas inaccessible by road. Since May this year, flooding has hit 8 of the 10 states, with Jonglei, Unity, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile being the hardest hit.

Bentiu – State of Unity.

In the town of Bentiu, around 25,000 newly displaced people have arrived and are currently in four makeshift camps.

Despite the construction of the UN and the strengthening of levees in the region, there is a huge risk that they will collapse, leading to an even more massive displacement. On November 6, half of the city of Rubkona was flooded after a nearby dike broke. According to initial estimates, 20,000 people were forced to move to the main Bentiu IDP camp because there was nowhere to go. The number of people in the camp is said to have dropped from 108,000 to 120,000.

Food security is a major concern in the camp. World Food Program (WFP) rations were reduced from 70% to 50% in April 2021, and these do not cover the thousands of new arrivals. Families share their rations with up to three households and our teams are already seeing rates of malnutrition well above emergency thresholds.

We are seeing an increase in water-borne and vector-borne diseases such as acute watery diarrhea, respiratory tract infections and malaria, which are already three of the leading killers in South Sudan among children under five. . Sanitation in the camp is appalling with dirty, overflowing, and dilapidated latrines. There were already very few functioning toilets in the camp (10 times below the minimum internaional standard required) and with the sewage treatment site cut off by flood water for two weeks, there are almost none. more. The sewage flows into open ditches that stagnate and are full of garbage. The risk of outbreaks of deadly diseases like cholera is high, with an outbreak of hepatitis E still ongoing.

UK Aid cuts, which saw South Sudan’s funding drop by almost 50%, from £ 135,347m in 20/21 to £ 68,400m in 21/22 (source: annual accounts and FCDO Report 2020-21), have contributed to the risks people face from disease and lack of access to adequate health and water / sanitation services, even before the recent floods. The UK must ensure that it steps up and provides the necessary funding for essential health and water / sanitation as well as emergency flood response. Now is not the time for the UK to cut aid.

MSF is also calling for an immediate intensification of other NGOs, the United Nations, the Ministry of Health and the Government of South Sudan, with increased food and nutrition assistance, water and sanitation services, shelters and health services.

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