File Photo: During clashes in May 2020, armed men burnt and destroyed houses in several village in South Sudan's Central Equatoria. The ICRC have been assisting communities that fled into the bush for safety (ICRC)
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday said thousands of South Sudanese civilians were facing hunger and diseases due to civil strife and floods.
The charity said in a statement issued in Juba said that conflict combined with torrential rains has escalated a humanitarian crisis as communities grapple with hunger, malnutrition, and disease in South Sudan's central, Western and Eastern Equatoria regions.
"We believe there are many people who are living in the bush who need urgent assistance," said Amro Ibrahim, ICRC's head of sub-delegation in the Equatoria region.
ICRC said thousands of people who fled their homes to escape clashes lost food items adding that floodwaters have created a hunger crisis in Central Equatoria region.
"We call on all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to prevent human suffering and ensure the protection of civilians and their property," Ibrahim said.
He said ICRC and the South Sudan Red Cross have reached more than 120,000 people affected by the conflict in Central, Western, and Eastern Equatoria states in 2020 alone with life-saving needs like food and as well as seeds, farming tools, and fishing kits.
"We are eating wild fruits, roots as we can't cultivate our fields anymore. Because of the heavy rains, the little food we were able to save is now rotting," said Michael, a resident of a village that is now deserted in Central Equatoria State.
According to the UN, about 800,000 people have been affected by flooding in South Sudan since July and 37 out of the 78 counties are grappling with the phenomenon.
Many areas are still underwater and approximately 368,000 people are displaced and unable to return to their homes and farms.