JUBA, Sudan (AFP) – Floods in south Sudan have forced more than 50,000 people from their homes, health officials said on Tuesday, warning that the situation could worsen.
Flood waters began rising earlier this month due to torrential seasonal rains in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state, leaving much of the state capital Aweil under water and affecting thousands in the surrounding countryside.
"In the last one month, 57,135 people have been displaced by the floods," said Olivia Lomoro, the ministry's undersecretary for health.
Southern health minister Luka Monoja warned that the rains, which last until October, could force out more people.
"It is not yet the end, because the rains are going continue up until October, so the situation may get worse," he said.
"A serious situation has developed in Aweil; more than three-quarters of the town is flooded and many houses are collapsed," said Monoja.
"The people are now living on the road, as it is the only area of the town that is raised."
Aid agencies have been working to support those displaced, the health ministry has sent medical supplies and the south?s humanitarian ministry is sending tents for emergency shelter as well as 15,000 bags of grain, Monoja added.
"The problem is because the soil does not absorb water, and the land is flat," said Monoja, who visited affected areas on Sunday.
"We are now doing forward planning, so that as soon as an area is affected by flooding we can arrive there with food, shelter and protection."
The south is still recovering from decades of civil war with the north, when about two million people were killed in a conflict fuelled by religion, ethnicity, ideology and resources including oil.
It is is due to vote in a January referendum promised under a 2005 peace deal that gives it the choice to become independent or to remain part of a united Sudan.