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Prize-winning photos capture the grit and suffering of flood survivors in South Sudan


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  • Chamberlain
2021_11_15_sudan_peter_caton-1_custom-e7HungerNyayua Thang, 62, left, stands waist-deep in the floodwaters in front of an abandoned primary school in South Sudan. Members of her village, displaced by extreme flooding as a result of heavy rainfall, are using the building as a refuge. Only small mud dikes at the entrance of the door are keeping the water out. (November 2020)

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"Because of the floods, we have no food. We tried to plant crops, but they are not growing because of the water, so that is why we collect the waterlilies," says Bol Kek, 45. Kek and others in her village of Paguir, a remote area of Jonglei State, South Sudan, grind the lily bulbs into an edible paste. Apart from fish, it is the only source of food available. (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
Nyalong Wal, 36, carries her daughter, Nyamal Tuoch, 2, to dry land in a bucket. Mothers do this to protect babies and children from falling into the deep floodwaters, says photographer Peter Caton. (November 2020)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
A family migrates to higher lands with their livestock. (November 2020)
Peter Caton/Action Against Hunger
Nyakoang Majok, 28, left, and her mother Nyagout Lok, 46, sit on a bed in the water. (November 2020)
Peter Caton/Action Against Hunger
Nyakueni Both, 12, right, tries daily in vain to throw water out of her inundated home with help of her twin sister, Nyagak, left, and mother, Nyayiola Nyuon, 32, center. "I'm not happy," says Nyakueni. "I'm not going to school because I'm throwing this water over the dike." (September 2021)
Peter Caton
The sun setting behind them, a family works to remove floodwater that gushed into their land after a dike broke just a few hours before, in the village of Old Fangak in Jonglei State, South Sudan. (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
Stephen Koang stands inside his destroyed home. He and his family are now sleeping on the ground of his neighbor's compound, whose dike is still resisting the water. "The flood came in the night. So I took my children and my family and left everything behind. In the morning when I came back, I saw that I have got nothing left," he says. (November 2020)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
Nyakeak Rambong, 71, stands inside the abandoned school, used as a refuge for villagers displaced by the floods in 2020. "The dike that we built around the school broke in all corners and we couldn't rescue the school anymore," she says. (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
A home submerged in floodwater near the village of Paguir. (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
2021_11_15_sudan_peter_caton-15_custom-8Nyadiang Gak, 50, stands beside her flooded crops. "I planted maize next to my home, but when the second flood came [this year], it destroyed it," she says. "I feel sad because, before these floods, I had a kitchen garden that put food on the table." (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
A cow feeds on the remains of a collapsed roof. (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
Majiel Duoth, 35, stands in front of his destroyed home in Old Fangak. He now lives on a small grass island with eight others who have been displaced. (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
Nyadak Yak, 29, sleeps under a mosquito net in an abandoned classroom. She is one of the lucky few who have found shelter in a place that has not yet been inundated by floodwater. "Life in this school is hard because there are a lot of mosquitoes and there is the constant threat of water that can come in at any moment." (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
Nyapini Yiel, 23, lies in her bed surrounded by floodwater. "When [the dikes] broke [one] night, I couldn't do anything. It was dark and my children and I were alone at home, so we just went back to sleep. We slept on the top of the bed even while the water came inside the house," she says. (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
Nyajima Guoy, 5, tries to stay dry by clinging onto a wall. (November 2020)
Peter Caton/Action Against Hunger
Volunteers build a large dike to contain floodwater that has inundated a soccer field. They are creating a dry area for helicopters carrying emergency aid to land. (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
Nyadut Gatkuoth, 30, second from right, sits in a canoe with relatives. "We have been chased out of our home by the floodwater and now we're heading to Old Fangak to look for a place to sleep tonight," she says. If they can't find a place, "we will make a small grass island and sleep above the water." (September 2021)
Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger
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