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The Sudd, a wetland at the center of South Sudan, spans about twice the size of Belgium. 

The Sudd, a wetland at the center of South Sudan, spans about twice the size of Belgium. 

Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/AFP/Getty Images

Green
COP27

A Flood Cycle Creates Some of the First Permanent Climate Refugees

A large region of South Sudan verges on becoming uninhabitable, in a stark demonstration of “loss and damage”

Physical frailty was the least of it. Yes, the mother was an invalid, out of sight atop the makeshift raft, but the children were bright-eyed and strong. The little ones were up to their necks in the floodwaters, the older girls up to their chest and hauling the raft, on which was stacked all they had left in the world: a couple of chickens, some plastic chairs, buckets, a knife, some rags and clothes. They were exhausted and afraid of the vipers that slipped around them in the water, but they kept moving forward. Their father waded ahead, with their infant brother.

“We are tired of water,” Nyalol Wang called out. She was 28 years old, the oldest sister. She did not know where they were going, they just wanted to find dry land.