By Francesca Merlo
Flooding in South Sudan and Somalia has forced almost 900,000 people to leave their homes in recent days. 600,000 of these are from South Sudan where aid workers are working to provide humanitarian assistance to those worst hit.
Sr Elena Balatti is a Comboni Missionary working in the diocese of Malakal in South Sudan. She told Vatican Radio’s Marco Guerra that the Church is trying to provide two main forms of support to the hard-hit region.
Sr Elena says that there is much work being done to “purchase and distribute” tents to the population, so that people “can be in temporary shelters”, where their villages have been damaged.
Along with the tents there is a dire need for the distribution of mosquito nets. Sr Elena explains that “with a lot of stagnant water, mosquitos increase”, adding that some of these carry malaria. Therefore, she says, “the distribution of mosquito nets is one of the first actions to be done”.
Sr Elena explains that there will soon be a “food emergency, because the crops have been flooded” and that they foresee a “need for humanitarian help in terms of basic food items”.
Since July, destructive weather has affected numerous countries in East Africa, where at least 30 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance.