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Juba, South Sudan 16 December 2019 — The effects of catastrophic flooding in north-eastern South Sudan are likely to be felt for months, as the harvest has been destroyed, livestock herds have been wiped out, livelihoods have been devastated, and most markets are empty.  Water sources have been contaminated, and health and nutrition facilities are closed because the flooding has made them unreachable by humanitarian organisations.  According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the food security outlook has never looked so dire.*

Medair, an international humanitarian organisation working in South Sudan, is responding with distributions of essential shelter and household items and supplies for decontaminating and storing safe water. As the waters recede, Medair staff and supplies are able to reach affected communities.

“People were telling us that they are accustomed to flooding, but this is the worst they have seen in their lifetimes,” says Evans Mariita, WASH Manager with Medair’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) who completed an assessment in the Upper Nile area of Jekow. “They are used to flooding up to their knees where the water stays for three days or so. This is up to their chest and the water has stayed for 21 days or more.”

In former Jonglei State, Medair is responding in Pathai. “The community told us they lost five women during childbirth because there was no way to transport them to get help. They are reporting many miscarriages, but they cannot know how many,” says Kiden Annet Miju, Medair’s ERT Protection Officer. “Women are moving through the water that is contaminated. Animals are dying every day and being left in the water. I didn’t see one single latrine. Everything is in the water.”

Nearly one million people have been affected by unusually heavy rainfall and flooding in South Sudan**. On 27 October, 2019 the government of South Sudan declared a state of emergency, and rains have continued through to early December. The areas affected are those already experiencing high levels of hunger, food insecurity, and acute malnutrition in children. Flooding and standing water exposes people to malaria and water-borne diseases. In a typical year, households experience food shortages between March and August. That ‘hunger gap’ is anticipated to begin as early as January due to flooding and loss of crops and livestock.

* South Sudan famine threat: UN News 12 December 2019

** South Sudan: Floods Emergency Response Strategy, OCHA 14 November 2019

For media

Media enquiries should be directed to:
In South Sudan: Sue O’Connor, Communications Officer (English)
+211 (0)92 747 5150

In Switzerland: Paola Barioli, Press Officer (English, Italian, French)
+41 (0)78 635 30 95

Medair is an international humanitarian NGO that provides emergency relief and recovery services to families made vulnerable by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises. Medair is responding to emergencies in South Sudan with health and nutrition services, water, sanitation, and hygiene projects, and distributions of essential shelter and household items.
For regular updates, please check or Twitter @Medair_SDS and @MedairPress.
Medair’s South Sudan Emergency Response Team is supported by the European Commission, UK aid from the UK government, and private donors. Photos of Medair’s work in South Sudan are available in high resolution. Contact Sue O’Connor:

For more information on Medair’s South Sudan programme, click here.

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and Global Support Office staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.