Trayle is our Interim Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Advisor for East Africa.
As Floods Soak South Sudan, ACF Steps Up with Proven Solutions
Some things never change, even for the newest country in the world: South Sudan has been hit by another round of flooding. The period from August to October is known as the “flood season,” and each year thousands of people are displaced, and property and crops are destroyed.
This year has seen the worst floods in five years, but the good news is that in some areas, humanitarian actors and communities were prepared and a humanitarian emergency was minimized.
Across the country 245,902 people have been affected. Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Unity states in the North of the country as well as Jonglei state in the East have the most widespread flooding. Action Against Hunger is a part of the inter-agency response in the Northern Bahr el Ghazal state where over 7,200 people (about 1,200 households) have been displaced, according to a recent report by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
When it floods in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, people move to higher ground, which is often railway or road sections that are elevated or to emergency sites established by the government. Many people have converged near Aweil town where, despite access problems, some aid is being delivered.
The inter agency assessment to the area showed that health, shelter, food, and water were priority needs. While malaria, diarrhea and eye infection cases are on the rise, the local health centre is flooded. Also worrying is the fact that livelihood activities have been disrupted, household food stocks have been soaked and crops in production have been destroyed. Several schools have collapsed and there are reported tensions with the host community.
While health actors are maintaining a mobile clinic to serve displaced populations, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) actors have been mobilized in the prevention of disease. Open defecation has been observed, water sources have been flooded and contaminated, and simple household hygiene items have been lost (IA assessment report, 18 September 2012).
An important part of averting an all out disaster in the face of risk is to be prepared. Action Against Hunger’s WASH team in South Sudan was well prepared and is currently busy responding to these basic needs in order to prevent disease within this vulnerable population alongside other actors in the area. Action Against Hunger’s country team had previous training in emergency response to be ready to react in a quick, coordinated and effective manner. Additionally, Action Against Huger ensured that resources were in place in advance, namely stocks of hygiene related non-food items as well as specialized equipment for water supply like generators and submersible pumps.
Action Against Hunger has provided 299 vulnerable households (about 1,800 people) with hygiene kits, including essential items such as jerry cans, soap, buckets, and PUR water purification powders (which are effective on turbid waters, common in a flood situation). Additionally, 497 households (some 3,000 people) participated in hygiene promotion activities that focused on raising awareness of risks to disease, especially simple, but improved excreta disposal methods. As the floodwaters subside, Action Against Hunger’s technical WASH team will begin the process of cleaning and disinfecting contaminated water points for the longer term.
Special thanks to ACF’s WASH Program Coordinator in South Sudan, Rangaiya Kanaganathan, for his assistance with this piece.
Tell Us What You Think
What questions do you have for Trayle? Leave them in the comments, and we'll ask her!
About Trayle Kulshan
Related Blog Posts
We're a Top Nonprofit
Action Against Hunger has been named one of the top nonprofits of 2012 by reviewers at Great Nonprofits!
Join thousands of Action Against Hunger supporters and subscribe now to our monthly newsletter and alerts.
Action Against Hunger is a top nonprofit as rated by BBB, Charity Navigator, and CharityWatch. Support our lifesaving work by making a monthly donation.
Facts about Hunger
925 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition around the world.
Malnutrition affects 32.5% of children in developing countries.
1 out of every 6 infants are born with low birth weight due to undernutrition among pregnant women in developing countries.
1 out of every 3 people in developing countries are affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Hunger is number one on the list of the world's top 10 health risks. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.