A displaced persons camp with the same population as Oxford is surrounded on all sides by rising flood waters.
Aid workers fear that the mud dikes could soon break, leaving tens of thousands of children in 1.5m deep murky water.
At the start of the year, the situation was already desperate for the 100,000 people living in rows upon rows of scrappy NGO tents in the Bentiu IDP camp in South Sudan. But when the largest floods came in six decades, it became unbearable.
Aid workers estimate the camp’s population swelled by another 30,000 people fleeing the waterlogged land all around. Because the extreme floods have cut off the local sewage plant, only one in ten of the toilets on the camp now works and clean water supplies are well below emergency levels.
“We are effectively an island protected by these dikes,” said Jacob Goldberg, medical emergency manager at Doctors without Borders (MSF), told The Telegraph.
“The dikes are three metres high. The water is now 1.5 above the level of the ground inside the camp. It’s an extremely worrying situation. The water level is very slowly rising by two to three centimetres a day,” Mr Goldberg.
“People are now drinking the stagnant water, which poses an enormous health threat.”
A dike was already breached near the camp earlier in November, and the risk of those around the camp breaking is “huge”, according to MSF.
The aid agency also added that food was a huge problem. Rations from the World Food Program were cut to 50 per cent of the needed amount in April 2021 because of funding cuts. These do not cover the thousands of new arrivals.
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