Life as a refugee

Floating kitchen gardens

Severe flooding has devastated agriculture for families in South Sudan. We are present in the country to establish solutions adapted to drastic climate change. Two of these are floating vegetable gardens and 'chinampas'.

Flooding in South Sudan is increasing.

Flooding in South Sudan is increasing.

A need for durable solutions

In 2022, one million people were directly affected by flooding in South Sudan. The massive amounts of water have destroyed thousands of families' farms - farms that they directly depend on for survival.

And it's no use just replanting and waiting for a new harvest, as forecasts predict even more rain and more frequent flooding in the future.

Long-term solutions are therefore needed - ones that adapt to the new reality that climate change has created for the people of South Sudan.

Floating kitchen gardens and 'chinampas'

Floating kitchen gardens and 'chinampas'

One of our climate adaptation projects is floating kitchen gardens. These are gardens that float on water and can therefore adapt to rising water levels when floods suddenly hit. This makes them more resilient to extreme weather and helps meet the food needs of families. A much-needed innovation in a highly challenged context!

And then there are 'chinampas' - a planting method that dates back to the ancient Aztecs in Latin America! Unlike floating vegetable gardens, chinampas are stationary platforms. They are made from natural materials, wood and plant matter, which helps to retain moisture so crops can survive even during dry periods. Chinampas are strengthened and elevated by wooden posts and are built when the water is low. When the flood hits suddenly, the platforms appear as small islands in the water.

A characteristic of the floating vegetable gardens and chinampas is that many different crops grow together, resulting in a bigger and better harvest output. Some families even have such a good harvest that they can sell their vegetables locally to earn an income.

DRC Danish Refugee Council in South Sudan

DRC Danish Refugee Council in South Sudan

Floating kitchen gardens are just one of several climate adaptation projects that DRC has established in South Sudan since 2017.

South Sudan is among the five countries in the world most vulnerable to climate change. The population suffers from irregular rainfall patterns and prolonged flooding. In 2021, some areas saw water levels rise to unprecedented levels, affecting areas that had not been flooded before.

This is why it is important that we empower and support people to adapt to the changing climate.

Facts about South Sudan

For decades, South Sudan has been characterized by a violent and bloody civil war. First in the struggle to secede from Sudan, which succeeded in 2011 when the country gained its independence. But just two years later, the country erupted into violent fighting between the government and the opposition, which quickly spread to the rest of the country.

At the same time, the country is extremely vulnerable to climate change and is behind on adaptation strategies. Both conflict and severe flooding have forced thousands of families to flee their homes in recent years.

South Sudan's refugee crisis is now the largest in Africa, with over 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees having fled the country to Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Approximately 2 million are living as internally displaced people in South Sudan, which also hosts around 337,000 refugees itself - mainly from Sudan.

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