South Sudan, the flood emergency increases food insecurity

Since the beginning of August, several countries in East Africa and in the Horn of Africa have been facing a new climate emergency. Floods and subsequent inundations are devastating Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan. From this last country, suspended between the wake of the long civil conflict that began in 2013 and the development of a fragile peace process, the report of our mission arrives, together with a strong alarm.



Concern is high about the risk of increased food insecurity and famine. According to United Nations data, due to the new environmental disaster, more than 700,000 people estimated to be involved and the total loss of the next crop. 900,000 people, victims of the floods that hit the country in 2019, still need food aid. The most affected regions are in the eastern part of the country, in particular in the states of Jonglei, Unity and Lakes.


“The situation is very complex”, says Stefano Antichi Head of the INTERSOS South Sudan mission, “Since the heavy rains that caused the flooding of the White Nile began, people have been forced to flee. Continuous movements from village to village, houses and fields covered with water”.


INTERSOS has been operating since 2006 in one of the areas most affected by floods: in Jonglei about 100,000 people were hit by heavy rains. About 70% of the population is suffering the consequences of having lost everything. “Many displaced people are seeking shelter in schools, occupying them in the hope that those will not be destroyed,” Stefano says.


“Our intervention is aimed at the protection and distribution of basic goods“, continues the head of mission of INTERSOS, “rubber boots and rain jackets, food, clothes, soap and hygiene products, mosquito nets, dignity kits (products underwear and for hygiene for women and girls), sun lamps. We also support unaccompanied minors, delivering them food and blankets for the night.”


“In this difficult context, INTERSOS is trying to reach even those remote areas where the levels reached by the water are very high and impracticable”, Stefano says, describing the NGO’s field work.
For the next few months, further intervention is planned to support the reconstruction of schools that will suffer damage and other structures destroyed by the incessant rains. After the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, now the inhabitants of these areas have found themselves facing another emergency involving problems in the search for food, the risk of an increase in malaria and various protection problems in a situation already extremely complex and volatile. The emergency is expected to last at least until the end of the year due to the particularity of the soil unable to fully absorb the water, leading to a lengthening of the recovery times from floods.
Flavia Melillo
Flavia Melillo