‘We stood on our beds’ – how a family escaped devastating flooding in South Sudan

FloodsClimate changeSouth Sudan

Almost 1 million people are in urgent need of help as severe flooding continues to affect communities in South Sudan.

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It is the latest crisis in a country where half of the population don’t have enough food to eat. People have been forced from their homes and fields of crops lost because of the flooding.

The rainy season usually starts in June and ends in October, but this year, climate changes have led to heavy rains and extreme flooding in many East African countries. 

In South Sudan, it is estimated that almost half a million people have been displaced by the floods. Many roads are unusable, making it much harder to get urgent aid to communities.

The country’s government has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas.

‘There was so much rain, it felt like it had been raining forever, the swamps overflowed.'

Aguil

Desperate efforts
Aguil lives with her two children in Twic East, in eastern South Sudan, not far from the River Nile. Her husband spends most of his time away from home. The 23-year-old told our Tearfund team:

‘There was so much rain, it felt like it had been raining forever, the swamps overflowed. The water filled my house, there was nowhere to go so we stood on our beds. One of the houses on the compound was destroyed, as well as the toilet that was recently built. 

‘I tried to protect my house as much as I could by building small mud walls around it, but I couldn’t do much. Everything was covered by water.’ 

New threats
Around 90 per cent of crops in Twic East have been destroyed and approximately ten per cent of livestock have been killed by the flooding.

‘Life has always been difficult, but the flooding made it worse. I lost my five goats. The fields are destroyed… we don’t know what to do,’ said Aguil.

Although the water is slowly receding, in most places there is still stagnant water left by floods. This makes it a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Aguil and the people in her community are at risk of malaria and other waterborne diseases like cholera if emergency assistance doesn’t come in time.

There is an urgent need for:

  • Clean drinking water
  • Food supplies for feeding centres affected by flooding
  • Mosquito nets and increased malaria screening for children under five
  • Guidance for communities on how to have good hygiene and sanitation practices in flood-affected areas
  • Disinfecting and restoring boreholes

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Aguil, who is a committed Christian and a choir member at her church, is putting her trust in God: ‘I pray that God will make things better for us. I pray that we find a solution to this flooding, I pray that God grants us life. I want a better future for my children, where they can go to school and live a good life. And I pray for peace for my country.’

PLEASE PRAY

  • Ask God to comfort and protect communities and staff across South Sudan who are affected by flooding. 
  • Pray particularly for people like Aguil, who have lost their homes and livelihoods – that they will be comforted and have their hope restored.
  • As some Tearfund projects have been suspended in parts of the country because of the flooding, pray that they can quickly be restarted.
Diane Igirimbabazi