South Sudan's Devastating Floods: Why they Happen and Why they Need a Coherent National Policy

This year’s flood is one of the worst in South Sudan’s history. It has affected about one million people from 142,783 households in 8 of the former 10 states, compared to only 344,618 people in 2013. People lost homes, livelihoods, and shelter and got exposed to deadly diseases. Schools, roads, health centers and other useful forms of infrastructure have been destroyed. This year’s flood emanated from an Indian Ocean climate event known as the Indian Ocean Dipole, which caused an increase of temperatures of Western India Ocean by 2 degrees Celsius. While the Indian Ocean Dipole is part of a regular climate variability, its effects have been worsened by global warming, a greenhouse gas induced situation that leads to temperature increase. Because of global warming, the climate is changing. Floods are becoming more frequent and severer than before. Therefore, South Sudan needs a coherent national adaptation and mitigation policy to protect lives, property and infrastructure against climate disasters.