Over two million people have fled South Sudan due to fighting and extreme weather events; well over one million South Sudanese nationals have been internally displaced. One of them is Alok, whose story was recently recounted by IOM (UN Migration Agency).
During the first decade since its founding, South Sudan was hit by devastating conflicts and floods. Alok was displaced by floods several times in recent years, according to UN migration agency IOM, which recounted her story in a recent press release. The blind woman is one of 1.7 million displaced persons from the world's youngest nation, according to IOM.
Displaced by floods multiple times
When a flood ravaged Bor in 2020, the capital of the state of Jonglei in South Sudan, Alok was forced to flee her emergency shelter along with eight family members who had also been living there.
Alok's family was able to built another emergency shelter in nearby Panapet, according to IOM. They hoped that floods would not happen again, but those hopes were dashed in 2021.
"As most persons in Panapet, I prayed that the flood would stop in order to stay at my house", Alok recalled to IOM.
Alok received aid from IOM
Alok was reportedly living in a temporary shelter with other displaced persons when she met with an IOM team in South Sudan.
The team visited her family while it was assessing the damage caused by the flood and the needs of the people there.
"The IOM team asked us to provide information about our essential needs," noted Alok to IOM.
She told them that she preferred cash assistance as opposed to objects, so she could chose which products to purchase, according to the IOM account.
With that cash, Alok was able not only to buy material to rebuild the shelter, medicines and food, but also able to set up a small coffee stall -- a business that she hopes will provide her family a future, IOM reported.
Hopeful for future
"I am hopeful that our small business will thrive with many people returning," she reportedly told IOM.
South Sudan has an ancient coffee tradition, as it is one of the rare places on earth where the Arabic and Robust coffee varieties grow naturally.
IOM's press release notes that it provided cash assistance for 2,070 migrants in South Sudan, helping the most vulnerable persons to rebuild a shelter for themselves.
Furthermore, in 2021, IOM in South Sudan reportedly provided support to 34,277 persons who were affected by conflicts and floods across the country, providing cash assistance as well.
You can find IOM's full story about Alok here.