The Stream

South Sudan: will frequent floods determine its future?

On Wednesday, December 1 at 19:30 GMT:
Hundreds of thousands of people across South Sudan are facing the most severe regional flooding in decades, with the impact of ever-more frequent extreme weather forcing many on the move and testing their strength to recover.

The UN estimates that at least 780,000 people have been affected by the worst deluges in 60 years. It’s the third straight year that South Sudan – which only recently marked 10 years since independence –  has experienced extreme flooding. Environmentalists and aid organisations say climate change is driving increasingly frequent and intense downpours.

Tens of thousands of people in eight stricken states have been forced from their homes by floodwaters, and communities long vulnerable to food insecurity are now facing starvation, malnutrition and diseases such as malaria and typhoid. The states of Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei and Bahr el Ghazal have been particularly badly hit.

Women and children are particularly vulnerable as climate change-driven displacement further hampers access to healthcare and education that national and regional authorities have long struggled to provide.

War Child is among non-government organisations now warning that extreme weather events in South Sudan are putting displaced people at risk of violence and exploitation. Cycles of drought and flooding in South Sudan are imperilling communities and increasing tensions over access to viable land – a further test to a country struggling to recover after a 2018 peace deal brought a half-decade civil war largely to an end.

In this episode of The Stream we’ll look at the scale and impact of recent flooding in the world’s youngest country, and ask what international action is urgently needed to help people in South Sudan adapt to future extreme weather.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Joseph Bartel, @bartelafric
Undersecretary, South Sudan’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry

Maura Ajak, @Maura_Ajak89

Nyathon Hoth Mai, @Nyathon_mai
Programme Officer, The Sudd Institute