Challenges With Flooding In South Sudan

South Sudan has recently faced one of the worst floods in its history. Heavy flooding that started in May has affected hundreds of thousands of individuals across different locations in the country while causing the destruction of a myriad of properties. Heavy rain has swept away villages and forced individuals to flee their homes to the nearest refuge. The drowning of agricultural land has also caused a food supply issue which was due to a chain of submerged fields that cannot be harvested due to lost crops.

Jens Laerke, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesman commented on the current situation in South Sudan and said, “Access is a major challenge though, with most of the flood-affected areas inaccessible by road, and the transport of aid by air is very costly. Some of the flood-affected counties are also affected by ongoing violence, which creates significant challenges for the people affected and the humanitarians who try to respond to their needs”.

Humanitarian aid is also facing challenges in delivery since many of the flooded areas have very little road access. This is coupled with the ongoing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic which adds to the complexity of an already entangled situation. Also, as Laerke said, the conflict between groups is a major issue in the country, which makes it more difficult for aid to reach.

The current short-term action plan should include paying attention to the needs of directly affected individuals by providing them with alternatives and a safe refugee. Secondly, infrastructure damage must also be taken into consideration after the flood is over. This can include thinking about guidelines for a more robust building strategy that is able to withhold harsh environmental conditions. However, how much of this is really realistic in the short term?

I think that this issue needs to be looked at as an alarm for the entire globe about the seriousness of the current climate crisis. Having environmental catastrophes is not an event that is only portrayed in movies anymore. We now have a live example before our eyes in South Sudan which includes a flood that affected hundreds of thousands of individuals. South Sudan was affected by this because of human actions worldwide, so it would only make sense for humans worldwide to be alert to this very dangerous situation. The speed of environmental catastrophes spread is also astonishing. I would not be surprised if I saw something as serious as this in many more countries in the globe if environmental action is not taken seriously.