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Image by James Wiseman

Natural Disasters and Impact on Communities

Causes of internal displacement in South Sudan: Part 3

Natural phenomena and extreme weather conditions, most commonly seasonal floods or droughts, are another cause for displacement in South Sudan. Since 2019, the country’s floods have contributed to “diminishing its most vulnerable people’s resilience”. At the source of such natural disasters are climate change, exploitation of topsoil, and deforestation. In October 2022, the International Crisis Group recorded severe flooding in the regions of Jonglei, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Upper Nile, Warrap, and Western Equatoria, accounting for an increase in the number of States affected in comparison to previous years.

Based on recent assessments, inundations have affected over 1,000,000 people in the country, with entire villages, health facilities, homes, hectares of agricultural areas, and roads being submerged or damaged by a “combination of heavy rains and massive floods”.

Additionally, people affected by floods are not only deprived of their means of subsistence and resources, but are also directly exposed to contaminated water, at the origin of widespread diseases such as malaria, cholera, or measles. These diseases are particularly deadly for children. Floods also cause important challenges to accessibility. For example, in Maban of the Upper Nile State, trucks transporting necessities could not reach their destinations, as roads were flooded. Ultimately, the rations were left behind to rot for weeks, further discouraging efforts to alleviate the situation due to high costs of transport.

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