August 30, 2007

Extraordinary rainfall causes flooding, disease

Heavy rain through the summer has caused repeated floods in Khartoum, filling the streets with water. Above average rainfall across the country has caused floods across the nation. Aid relief has been difficult to deliver in some areas, and the Sudanese Red Crescent reported that donations for relief totalled only 30% or the $4.5 million they needed. They have helped 49,000 people, providing chlorine tablets, soap, and mosquito nets. Working with Red Cross officials they raised their goal of helping 40,000 people to 140,000 for the next six months.

Aid experts said that cases of malaria are on the rise in flooded areas. The World Health Organisation reported mid August that the floods had triggered an outbreak of cholera in eastern Sudan, with 763 cases reported and 53 people dead. A Sudanese health official denied the existence of the disease.

Toward the end of the month the European Union offered 2 million Euros, and the United Nations launched an appeal for $20 million, in addition to $13.5 million that was already given through the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund. Over 200,000 people have become homeless in Sudan due to the flooding. The rainy season continues until October.

UPDATE from another source
Further details resulting from the heavy rains in Sudan.
200,000 homeless. 40,000 families homeless in northern Sudan. 365,000
people affected by flooding across 16 of Sudan's 26 states. 73,839
houses have been damaged or destroyed. 50,000 hectares crops ruined.
"worst flooding to have hit the country since 1988"
4,680 homes in Khartoum destroyed.
Many houses destroyed in Sennar.
Hundreds of families stranded in Kassala area from flooding of River Gash
Khartoum state - 13,000 families affected by flooding.
North Kordofan State - Wad al-Buga dam at Khor-Bagara collapses.
Southern Sudan - 6 dead. 10,000 families displaced. Thousands of cattle
dead in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states.
August 9 - Blue Nile at Khartoum more than a meter higher than 1988 levels
August 25 - 30,000 homes destroyed and 150,000 homeless in eastern Sudan
September 4 - 20,000 houses destroyed in Kosti city.

August 1, 2007

Flooding in Kassala leaves hundreds homeless

Heavy rains and flooding have killed at least 30 people and destroyed over 15,000 homes in central and eastern Sudan. Rain has been steady for weeks, but the strong rains, which began Sunday evening and continued Wednesday July 11, destroyed at least 4,680 homes in Khartoum alone. The Nile River is expected to peak in Khartoum at higher levels than in previous record years (1946, 1988).

In Kassala State, the Gash River, which has tributaries in the Ethiopian and Eritrean highlands, has risen to such a level that hundreds of families have been stranded.

"As an immediate first step to help, the UN World Food Program plans to distribute food to 20,000 people in five locations near the city of Kassala, close to the Eritrean border, where the Gash River has burst its banks," a WFP statement said.

"WFP has 3,000 metric tonnes of food stockpiled in Kassala, enough to feed the flood victims for three weeks," it added.

United Nations agencies and NGOs like the Red Crescent Society are distributing plastic sheeting, blankets, cooking sets and mosquito nets.

Oxfam has been helping improve the drainage system in Tokar, which was affected by floods in 2006. About 90 km [55 miles] southeast of Suakin, and 30 km [18 miles] from the coast at Trinkitat, Tokar sits in a fertile valley plain that is surrounded by hills, so wells are full and crops are plentiful in normal conditions.

In other parts of Africa, heavy rains have caused dormant larvae to hatch and swarms of locusts have infested farmland the Horn of Africa region.

Weather forecasts predict continued heavy rain.