He feels like a drowned man.
His home of grass and mud is now under water from the worst flooding in South Sudan for 60 years. His sorghum field, which provided food for his family, is now under water. The mud dykes around him have also collapsed.
Others have fled. Only Yel Aguer deng’s family remains, along with a few neighbours.
This year’s extreme flooding in South Sudan is the third consecutive year. It further threatens the livelihoods of many of the 11,000,000 people living in the youngest country in the world. The nation has been challenged by civil war for five years, hunger and corruption. Climate change, which is now being blamed by the United Nations for the flooding, can’t be ignored.
Daniel Deng, a father of seven at 50, recalls his life as a man forced to flee from insecurity over and over again. He said, “But this one event (the flooding) is too much.” It is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.”
According to the U.N., flooding has affected nearly half a million people in South Sudan since May. The Lol river burst its banks in Northern Bahr el Ghazal.
The state is often spared the extreme flooding that affects South Sudan’s Jonglei and Unity, which border the White Nile or the Sudd marshlands. However, now houses and crops are flooded.
The World Meteorological Organization released a new report this week warning of climate shocks that could increase in Africa. This is the continent that contributes least to global warming, but will most likely suffer.
Shelters made of braided grass provide a weak resistance to the land of seemingly endless water in these South Sudanese rural communities.
Ajou Bol Yel, a seven-member family from Langic village, hosted nine of his neighbors who had lost homes. While the children share the floor, the elders sleep outside on mosquito net-protected beds while the children share the bed.
Majak Awar has seen 100 families evacuated twice. In June, their homes were submerged and in August, when their shelters collapsed.
Nyibol Arop (27-year-old mother to five children) whispered, “I want leave for Sudan,” as she boiled her morning coffee just steps from the stagnant water that threatened her shelter.
When you are constantly moving, it is difficult to see a stable future. This lesson was learned during the civil war which displaced millions of people. There was no peace agreement until 2018.
“Floods do not last forever. As he showed the destroyed houses in his village, near Majak Awar, Thomas Mapol, a father of nine aged 45 years, said that some people will stay and others will go. “But me, it is impossible for me to move anywhere. “I know of no other place.”