“Our hospital in Pibor is on the outskirts of town, about 100 metres from the River Gumuruk, with the river creating a loop around it. October usually marks the end of the rainy season in South Sudan, and we haven’t had much rain in recent weeks. But with rain falling in neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya, two weeks ago Pibor river suddenly started to rise rapidly.
Flooding is nothing new in Pibor – there were major floods in 2013 and 2017 – so we had a plan in case the MSF compound was at risk. But we had no idea how serious this was going to be. We had already moved the isolation area to higher ground in September. On 13 October we also moved the adult ward, children’s ward and therapeutic feeding centre. When the water started to creep towards the operating theatre, we had to close it. We lifted the most expensive – and heaviest – equipment to an area we hoped would stay dry, hoping to preserve it. Next under threat were our warehouses. We did our best to move as many items as we could to a water-free zone.