Despite the fact that several of the main roads flowing through Unity State are now fully inundated, traffic continues to flow. There are no automobiles, only people, some of whom swim, others wade, and all of whom struggle to make their way through the heavy, muddy water. The more fortunate make their way through the floodwaters on canoes, hauling their cattle and whatever belongings they were able to recover from the floods.
A group of ladies is attempting to free their improvised raft, which has become mired in mud and is being dragged down by six children, as they travel between the cities of Bentiu and Ding Ding in this traffic jam. Women were left to push for four days in the hope of reaching higher ground as the males of the family returned north to protect their herds of cattle. One of the women, who went by the name of Nereka, explained that they ran out of food along the journey. As she speaks, her 5-month-old kid cries out in agony.
Naturally, she expressed concern for her children, saying, “Of course, I’m worried about my children.” “It’s for this reason that we keep moving.”
Years of conflict have ravaged the world’s newest nation, which has just had enough peacetime to begin the process of reconstruction. Only 200 kilometres of the country’s highways have been paved. In the meantime, South Sudan is coping with biblical floods, which began as early as June and were exacerbated by the climatic disaster, which the country had little to do with causing.
According to the United Nations, this flood, which is the worst in 60 years, has engulfed not only the same highways that people here rely on to get away, but also their farms, houses, and marketplaces. Thousands of people have been displaced.
For several years, South Sudan has had wetter-than-normal rainy seasons, while its dry seasons have become much drier than they were previously. Despite the fact that the rainy season has come to an end, the water that has accumulated over months has not yet begun to drain.
There are numerous locations in the globe that are dealing with the twin problems of drought followed by excessive rainfall, which when combined provide the perfect circumstances for disastrous floods. South Sudan is one of such places.
More than 850,000 people have been affected by the floods, according to the United Nations organisation in charge of organising the relief effort, with 35,000 of them being forced to flee their homes.
Remote settlements like Ding Ding, for example, are now largely deserted. Many of the homes in this area have typical straw roofs that rise above the waterline, despite the fact that their walls are still submerged.
Some individuals looking for food in this area have resorted to eating the lilies that have sprouted on the surface of the floodwaters, as an entirely new ecosystem is beginning to bloom in this drastically altered landscape as a result of the flooding.
It’s a bleak picture for a country that has only been in existence for ten years. After declaring independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan was plunged into a terrible civil conflict that lasted until last year, only two and a half years after achieving independence. As communities compete for increasingly scarce grazing area, deadly inter-communal violence continues to be a typical occurrence.
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