KAMPALA, Uganda — In the African nation of South Sudan, in the midst of its seemingly perpetual civil war, it appears things have taken a truly biblical turn.
The Daily Monitor, a Ugandan newspaper, reported Monday that hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes in recent weeks in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state. Heavy rains, and rising water levels from a nearby river, the James, have flooded homes, and food supplies and other basic supplies have been cut off.
“Due to flooding, most of the markets have been closed for three months,” Joseph Burhere, chairperson of Upper Nile’s All Parties Peace Dialogue Caucus, told the newspaper. “The situation in the city is not only bad, but the situation in the entire region is bad.”
Hurricane-force winds and heavy rain pummeled the region over the weekend, with rains still falling on Tuesday. In response, the South Sudanese government and UN agencies are evacuating thousands of people from two targeted camps and are transferring others to other nearby centers, according to the Monitor.
But large parts of the city remain abandoned and cut off, according to the report. Almost 50,000 families, or more than 820,000 people, are in Malakal, many of them displaced by the two-year civil war.
The United Nations has reportedly warned that an estimated 180,000 people may be affected, and Burhere and other community leaders have called for humanitarian workers to expand the area where people can be assisted.