Flood victims facing malnutrition, malaria- UN

Flood victims facing malnutrition, malaria- UN
An Internally displaced girl stares at a severely malnourished man in Unity State’s capital Bentiu (photo credit: Getty Images)

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has decried the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan’s flood-prone areas.

OCHA said in a statement released yesterday that 780,000 people have so far been affected by the floods, and most of them are now battling malaria and malnutrition.

“We are seeing an increase in water-borne and vector- borne-diseases like acute watery diarrhoea, respiratory tract infections, and malaria, which are already three of the biggest killers in South Sudan for children under five,” OCHA stated partly in the press release.

 The agency said that most of the affected states have been through the flooding menace for the third year, and if left unaddressed, the situation could be catastrophic.

‘‘This is the third straight year of extreme flooding in South Sudan, further impacting many of the 11 million people in the country who are already in dire need of humanitarian assistance. People’s homes and livelihoods, as well as health facilities, schools and markets, are submerged,’’ it added in a press release.

It lamented the inaccessibility of the affected areas, saying most roads had been cut off due to the flooding that has never subsided.

“People are in need of immediate assistance, including medical care, food, safe water, and non-food items such as shelters, mosquito nets, and cooking pots.

“Access, which is a challenge all year round in South Sudan, is further worsened by the floods, making it more difficult for people to access basic life-saving services, as well as for humanitarian actors to reach them directly, with much of the flood-affected areas inaccessible by road,” it said in a statement.

 The UN added that “ the flooding has hit 8 of the 10 states, with Jonglei, Unity, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Upper Nile the worst affected since May last year”.

With the World Food Programme (WFP) reducing food rationing from 70 per cent to 50 per cent in April 2021, OCHA said hunger remains a major challenge as most families enter the malnutrition phase.