Around 908,000 people have been affected by flooding across 32 counties in South Sudan, including an estimated 490,000 children, the United Nations children’s fund said on Friday.
The East African country has experienced heavy rains in recent weeks, causing havoc especially in the former states of Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap and Northern Bahr El Ghazal.
UNICEF warns that the rains could continue for another four to six weeks, and has appealed for aid to help those affected.
The agency expressed concern that the floods could spread various water-borne diseases as well as malaria, affecting majority of the country’s children.
“UNICEF is extremely concerned about children’s health in the affected areas with an increase in malaria and waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, two of the major child killers in South Sudan.”
Not only have the floods rendered over 70,000 families homeless, but they have also forced schools across the country to shut down as classrooms have been filled with flood water.
The agency has called for urgent response to the floods, saying that if timely assistance is not availed, those affected will reel from the effects of the floods long after the rains subside.
“It (flood) increases the risk of exploitation and abuse, it affects their health and education and can also take their lives if we don’t respond timely. UNICEF is calling on donors to ensure the response to children and their families in the flood-affected areas is prompt and adequate.”