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At least 30,000 civilians have been displaced by heavy flooding in Ayod county in South Sudan and are in dire need of assistance as they are surviving on grass after crops were washed away, a UN relief official said.

Addressing reporters here on Thursday, Arafat Jamal, acting humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan who visited Ayod a day earlier, said persisting rains have washed away crops forcing women and children to eat grass to stay alive, reports Xinhua news agency.

“One of the most moving and shocking things for me is when someone threw pieces of grass on the ground and said this is what we have to eat,” Jamal said.

He disclosed that some homes in both Unity and Jonglei states have been submerged in addition to crops being destroyed.

“They said we have this (grass) and when we eat it we get upset and fall sick but this is all we have to eat, and to me when I see these people suffering I see human dignity that is affected,” said Jamal, who blamed climate change for severe floods in South Sudan.

“Floods are nothing new but what is different is that we are truly in the age of climate change and climate catastrophe and what we are seeing now is that floods are coming in regularly and at a higher intensity than before,” he said.

Jamal disclosed that the displaced people also lack clean drinking water.

According to Unicef, some 8.3 million people in South Sudan presently need humanitarian support, a much higher number than the levels seen during the 2013-2018 civil war, which ranged from 6.1 million to 7.5 million people.


The above article has been published from a wire agency with minimal modifications to the headline and text.