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Nearly a Million Affected by South Sudan Floods: UN

FILE: An aerial view shows flooded homes within a village after the River Nile broke the dykes in Jonglei State, South Sudan October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Andreea Campeanu

The United Nations emergency response agency, OCHA, says at least 900,000 people were affected by floods in South Sudan, a figure which is double the estimates of last month amid torrential rains that have ravaged crops and destroyed homes.

Officials of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Wednesday said South Sudan is reeling from four consecutive years of flooding and the most recent disaster has impacted approximately 909,000 people in nine out of ten states.

"Reportedly, the floods destroyed livestock and crops, washed away roads and bridges, destroyed homes, schools and health facilities while submerging boreholes and latrines, thereby contaminating water sources and risking outbreaks of waterborne diseases," said OCHA officials.

In oil-rich Unity state, one of the most impacted regions, rising water levels breached dykes in two places on Sunday and are threatening to flood camps for internally displaced people as well as a base for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The UN agency further says heavy rains have collapsed a key bridge in the western Bahr el Ghazal state thereby cutting off critical aid deliveries to struggling populations.

"Efforts are ongoing around the clock to repair the areas needed and to monitor any vulnerable areas ahead of further breaches," added OCHA officials.

An update released last month by OCHA, estimated that around 386,000 people were affected by flooding across seven states.

A 2018 World Bank report states that four out of five South Sudanese live in absolute poverty and adds, nearly two-thirds of its population suffers from sever hunger.

Since achieving independence from Sudan in 2011, the young nation has been in the throes of a chronic economic and political crisis, and is struggling to recover from the aftermath of a five-year civil war that left nearly 400,000 people dead.

Although a 2018 ceasefire and power-sharing deal between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar still largely holds, little progress has been made in fulfilling its terms.

Authorities of the east African nation continue to face fierce criticism from the United Nations for stoking violence and failing to uplift the nation, despite its large oil reserves.