Coronavirus – Sudan: Floods Flash Update
Heavy rains over the past week have led to flash and riverine flooding in different parts of Sudan, with Khartoum, Blue Nile and River Nile states amongst the hardest-hit.
The storms have destroyed houses and displaced people, especially in the Blue Nile, where several hectares of crops have been flooded in the middle of the planting season. Other key infrastructure, including water points, latrines and schools have been damaged, increasing the need for humanitarian assistance.
Government and aid organizations area already assisting people affected, and the Flood Task Force, led by the Humanitarian Aid Commission, has been activated at the Federal level to coordinate the operation. Partners are facing some challenges, especially in the Blue Nile, where several roads are impassable, hampering access to the population.
The Sudan Meteorological Department forecasts above-average rainfall throughout August in at least three quarters of country, which could result in further flooding.
Heavy rains in Sudan have intensified over the past week, causing flooding, destruction of infrastructure, houses and livelihoods, and leading to displacement in multiple locations across the country. Khartoum, Blue Nile and River Nile are amongst the most affected states. Floods have also led to damages and affected people in other regions, including El Gezira, West Kordofan and South Darfur.
In the Blue Nile State, the state with highest number of people affected so far, the Bout Earth Dam, in Tadamon locality, exceeded its full capacity and collapsed, following the strong rainfall received on 29 July. At least 12 neighbourhoods downstream in Bout Town were flooded due the incident, affecting around 3,900 people. Most of them were rendered homeless and are now sheltering with host families, as nearly 190 houses were destroyed and 590 damaged, according to Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). More houses are expected to collapse, as the rains continue in a zone where the land is already extremely wet.
Flooding has also damaged at least one school, 14 boreholes, and 218 latrines. According to preliminary information from local authorities, several hectares of crops might have been lost and over 150 livestock washed away, increasing the risk of heightened food insecurity in the months ahead. The collapse of Bout Earth Dam will likely compromise access to water to the over 84,000 people who live in area, according to HAC.
Still in Blue Nile, the heavy rains have also affected over 650 people in Wad Abok Village, in Bau locality, 15 km in the east of Bout Town. Several roads are impassable and access to both Wad Abok and Bout areas is only possible via helicopter, hampering Government and aid organizations’ ability to respond.
In the River Nile State, some localities, including Abu Hamad Town, received on 28 July alone over 44 mm of rainfall, almost three times the daily rainy season average of the area, according to the Sudan Meteorological Authority. According to initial data from HAC and humanitarians in the field, some 75 homes collapsed, over 260 were damaged, and food and belongings of hundreds of people were washed away by flash flooding. The affected families need food, shelter and other emergency items, including sleeping mats, jerry cans, kitchen utensils and mosquito nets.
In Khartoum State, over 180 houses were severely damaged or destroyed in Sharg Al-Neel locality, following a storm that hit the capital area on 31 July. Umm Dhawan Ban, Al-Nazyla Village, Abu Qrun Garib, Abu QronـJanoub and Jabareen areas, as well as Omdurman, are the most affected, leaving dozens of families in need of food and emergency shelter, according to the state authorities.
The heavy rainfall has also affected people in El Gezira, West Kordofan and South Darfur states. In El Gezira State, six people reportedly died following a violent storm on 28 July in the Kogeila area, east of El Managil Town, according to media reports. Previously in mid-July, heavy rains and flash floods affected nearly 16,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Otash (15,000 people), Dereige (nearly 700) and Mosey (over 320 people) camps in Nyala Town, South Darfur. At least two people died in Otash, several houses and other infrastructure, including latrines, were destroyed.
The ongoing heavy rainfall hampers crop production, increases the risk of disease outbreaks and poses more obstacles to the Government and partners’ efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Most people displaced by floods are living with host families, exposed to congestion, poor sanitation and inadequate food and other essentials, such as medicines, mosquito nets, as well as protection and maternal services.
The Sudan Meteorological Authority has warned that more heavy rains are expected during August and September in most of the country, which can lead to further flooding and displacement. Some areas of North, Red Sea and Kassala State, however, expects below-average rains, a situation that can impact food production in these areas.
The Government and humanitarian partners are already responding and supporting the families with life-saving assistance, while assessments are ongoing in all affected areas. Before the onset of the raining season, a preparedness and response plan was developed and partners propositioned emergency supplies across the country. With the start of the season, the Flood Task Force, led by HAC, has been activated and is coordinating the response. Currently, partners are using the propositioned supplies and identifying possible gaps, as well the need for replenishing the material deployed for the response.
According to humanitarian partners, logistic is the most critical challenge to meet the immediate needs of people in the Blue Nile State. As roads are impassable, the area can only be reached via helicopter. While the Logistic Sector is mobilizing further support, at least three flights have already reached the area with emergency supplies, including medicines, hygiene kits, water purification products, mosquito nets and other non-food items. Food, emergency shelter and other items, including kitchen utensils, are amongst the items that still need to be transported to the affected area.
In River Nile, 75 families whose houses were destroyed in Abu Hamid locality received food assistance. Each family received 5 kg of rice, 5 kg of lentils, 5 kg of cooking oil and 5 kg of sugar. Nearly 400 pieces of plastic sheets for temporary shelter and 20 tents have also been distributed to the nearly 330 families affected. Humanitarians are conducting further assessments in the area, but have already identified the need for mosquito nets, sleeping mats, jerry cans and agricultural utensils. HAC and partners are evaluating possible gaps in the current stock to respond to these needs.
In Khartoum, the local authorities and partners have already mobilized food assistance, including rice, lentils, cooking oil and wheat flour, as well as 600 pieces of plastic sheets for the affected population. Possible gaps are now being identified.
In South Darfur, OCHA and HAC led an inter-agency assessment mission carried out from 22 to 26 July in Dereige and Mosey, and more assessments are yet to be conducted in Otash to determine the extent of the emerging needs. Humanitarian response continued in the IDP camps affected, but plastic sheets and the rehabilitation of household latrines are amongst the main gaps. The concerned clusters are working to mobilize the supplies and assessing possible gaps on the response.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
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