By Vatican News staff writer
Leaders of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) are appealing to faith communities, international donors and people in the private sector to extend a helping hand in support of a scaled-up response to rescue people in areas hard-hit by floods that continue to cause destruction across the country.
“We, the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) leaders working within these communities appeal for assistance to be expedited to communities currently without humanitarian assistance,” read a jointly signed letter by several religious leaders, including Archbishop Stephen Mulla of Juba.
In recent months, several counties located along the Nile River have been flooded after the river banks overflowed due to heavy rainfall in catchment areas. An estimated 700,000 people have been displaced due to the resulting floods which have also destroyed livestock, farms, homes and other property.
South Sudan’s many challenges
The Church leaders estimate that about five hundred thousand dollars (USD $500,000) is required to respond to the immediate needs of about 100,000 people in Jonglei, Lakes, Upper Nile, Equatoria and Unity – areas which are most affected by the crises.
This money, SSCC says, will go towards providing basic humanitarian needs including water, sanitation, health, shelter, food security, livelihoods and psychosocial support.
South Sudan, - the world’s youngest nation – is currently trying to end years of ongoing conflict and inter-communal violence which began in 2013, barely two years after its independence.
In the wake of the long-running conflict, 1.6 million of the nation’s estimated 11.1 million people are internally displaced, with 7.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance. About half of the population is food insecure with famine threatening some areas and nearly 300,000 children facing severe to acute malnutrition.
The country’s already existing challenges have been further exacerbated by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which “has decimated supply chains leading to escalating prices for staple foods and basic commodities,” the church leaders said. The conflicts and the pandemic have also adversely affected aid delivery efforts while poor roads have made it hard for humanitarian organizations to reach flooded areas.
In partnership with Caritas and other humanitarian organizations, the SSCC is collaborating in the hope they can “jointly deliver support to affected populations currently without assistance if adequate funds are available.”
Currently, the UN says that an estimated US $80 million is required for overall flood response, including US $46 million in immediate assistance to 360,000 people until the end of this year.