The country’s main parties signed a peace agreement that aimed to put an end a five-year civil war that killed more than 400,000 people and caused widespread famine.
Yet every year since then, it has experienced devastating, record-breaking rains and floods.
This week, the United Nations refugee arm, UNCHR, warned South Sudan needs urgent humanitarian aid in the wake of major flooding – now. More than 900,000 people have been directly impacted as waters have swept away homes and livestock, worsening an already dire food emergency.
The country is not alone. Since March, UNHCR has published well over a dozen media briefing notices about serious floods which have caused people to be displaced.
The recent situation in Pakistan, which is still struggling to recover from the devastation caused by weeks of heavy monsoon rains, was catastrophic. A total of 1,725 people, including 643 children, died, with more than 33 million people affected by what was described as “a monsoon on steroids” by UN chief Antonio Guterres.
Meanwhile, extreme weather situations causing flooding are going on in Nigeria, Thailand and Vietnam. A dam collapsed on Monday in the northern Venezuelan town of El Castaño, sweeping away everything in its wake. Thousands of people were recently forced to flee their homes in south-east Australia as a result of flooding.
Scientists have warned we are facing the effects of global warming and that flooding events are likely to continue – and are likely to get worse.
The consequences are huge – both for the individuals whose lives and livelihoods are literally washed away by the flood waters, but also for the wider community. Flooding of grain fields can mean famine across an entire country and beyond.
Closer to home, yesterday the Bank of England published a report laying out the potential economic challenges it could face as a result of climate change, saying it has “the potential to impact the macroeconomy in numerous ways.”
Climate change is devastating communities across the world right now. If this isn’t the wake-up call we need, I don’t know what is.