Flood survivor in Mvolo County: “We don’t know whether this year is angry with us or what”

unmiss south sudan western equatoria state mvolo county floods displacement humanitarian assistance assessment visit

A team of UN peacekeepers and humanitarian actors on an assessment visit to severely flood-affected Mvolo County, Western Equatoria State. Photos: Denis Louro Oliver/UNMISS

19 Sep 2022

Flood survivor in Mvolo County: “We don’t know whether this year is angry with us or what”

Denis Louro Oliver/Filip Andersson

WESTERN EQUATORIA- Circling above Mvolo County in the early morning light, those on board the United Nations’ helicopter can’t help but notice the damages caused by heavy floods in a fertile area which normally could have provided communities across the state with food and livelihoods.

Instead, 5,000 people have been displaced, livestock swept away, crops ruined, and numerous dwellings destroyed.

An integrated team from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and humanitarian is here to assess the impact of the flooding, not least by getting first-hand information from people who are suffering from the consequences.

One of the displaced persons, Rose Kaku, seeking shelter at a school compound, is one of them.

“We don’t know whether this year is angry with us or what, or if it is nature? My three tukuls [mud huts] collapsed and hurt my child’s leg. We don’t have food this year, not even shelter for our children,” she told the visiting team.

Communities in Mvolo County feel forgotten and abandoned and have little or no idea of what tomorrow might bring.

“I lost my husband, he left me alone with four children. The tukul I had was destroyed and I don’t know how or where to relocate my children,” said Jenty Mangay.

Local authorities through its Relief and Rehabilitation Commission are pleading for support to manage the dire situation.

“We have registered a big number of displaced people and we are reaching out to our partners for assistance. We are deeply concerned about the health of children who are suffering from pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea and other medical issues,” said Wilson Daokada, County Director of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.

Russom Habtegabriel, a representative of World Food Programme in Western Equatoria State, says that humanitarian assistance will arrive, but warns that supplies are scarce and tough priorities will need to be made.

“The damage is quite visible, and as you know resources are very much limited. We wanted to know what support that is most critically needed, and we are told that the priority is Non-Food Items, followed by food and then facilities for washing, sanitation and health, he said, adding that more coordination meetings with humanitarian actors are scheduled.

While waiting for necessary aid to arrive, local authorities have been urged to relocate residents to higher and relatively safer ground.