At least 623,000 people have been affected by widespread flooding in South Sudan since May, with many forced to flee their homes, the United Nations said.
Rivers broke their banks following heavy rains, deluging houses and farms in eight of the country’s 10 states, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a briefing note on Thursday.
Jonglei and Unity states are the worst hit, representing 58 percent of those affected, the emergency-response agency said.
Aid workers are using canoes and boats to reach stranded populations, with more than two-thirds of the affected areas now facing the risk of hunger as food prices shoot up, recording a 15-percent jump since August, it added.
“Schools, homes, health facilities and water sources were inundated, impacting people’s access to basic services,” the note read.
“Physical access remained a major challenge for humanitarian organizations to assess and respond to the needs of flood-affected people.”
Some families have been able to flee to the capital, Juba, while others have set up makeshift camps along highways, grabbing what few possessions they could from the ruins of their flimsy thatched huts.
In some parts of the country, violence between rival communities has forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes while also complicating emergency workers’ efforts to help flood-battered communities.
UN teams have struggled to get aid to Warrap, a northwestern state plagued by ethnic violence, which is now battling a measles outbreak.
Meanwhile, about 80,000 people have been uprooted from their homes in Western Equatoria state in the country’s southwest as a result of the fighting which erupted in June, OCHA said, with some fleeing to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The agency last month warned of limited supplies and a funding shortage, saying that it had only received 54 percent of the $1.7bn required to pay for programmes in the country.