The devastating floods in South Sudan have blocked aid from reaching displaced people, the UN said Friday, warning that a camp housing 75,000 Sudanese refugees would receive no food this month.
The world’s newest nation is reeling from four consecutive years of flooding, with two-thirds of the country and more than 900,000 people now directly impacted by the floodwaters, according to the United Nations.
The UN refugee agency said this was taking a dire toll on its ability to deliver aid to displaced people.
UNHCR “is urging international support for humanitarian efforts in South Sudan in the face of record-breaking rains and floods,” spokesman Boris Cheshirkov told reporters in Geneva.
In Mabah, in Upper Nile state, trucks carrying food and other relief items had been unable to reach the Doro refugee camp, he said.
“This means that October’s rations will not reach the 75,000 Sudanese refugees living there,” he warned.
This comes after trucks carrying last month’s rations to the camp were stuck on the road for weeks, forcing UNHCR to eventually airlift the supplies to the camp.
“There are not enough funds to do this again,” Cheshirkov said, warning that many in the camp could go hungry.
In oil-rich Unity state — one of the worst-hit regions — the capital Benitu has meanwhile “become an island surrounded by floodwaters,” he said.
“All roads in and out are impassable and only boats and the airstrip serve as lifelines for humanitarian aid to reach 460,000 people already displaced by a mix of both flooding and conflict.”
Rising water levels breached dykes in two places on Sunday, threatening to flood camps for internally displaced people as well as a base for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
In a bid to keep more dykes from collapsing, Cheshirkov said people were now “working around the clock with pumps, buckets, excavators and heavy machinery to keep the water at bay.”
“Needs are surging for food, shelter, water, and sanitation supplies as stocks of basic items are running out.”