Sudan floods death toll nears 100 with more heavy rain forecast

Destruction on a large scale in worst-hit area

Families walk on a flooded road after heavy rainfall in the village of Aboud in the Al Manaqil district in Al Jazeera state south of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. AP
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The death toll from the floods in Sudan rose by 10 to nearly 100 at the weekend as authorities warned the worst was yet to come.

Heavy downpours and rising water levels in the Blue and White Niles are forecast for the next few days.

The National Council of Civil Defence said 99 people had been killed and another 93 injured since the floods struck most of the vast nation earlier this month.

It said a total of 23,724 homes have been entirely destroyed, while another 35,225 have been damaged.

Sudan is not new to flooding, with the country hit by floods virtually every year between June and September. The worst of the flooding, however, occurs during August and September.

However, the floods’ severity and the extent of destruction they cause vary from year to year, with this year’s rated by Sudanese officials as among the worst since record flooding in the 1940s.

“The next week will be critical for the country and requires that we raise the level of preparedness to the maximum,” said the committee in charge of monitoring floods at the Irrigation Ministry.

It forecast heavy rainfall this week and into early in September, especially in the Khartoum area.

Figures released by a senior emergency official in Al Jazeera state south of Khartoum, one of the worst areas hit by the floods, showed the extent of destruction in one region. They also highlighted the massive relief operation and rebuilding funds needed for life there to return to normal.

Abu Bakr Abdullah, who is in charge of emergency services in Al Jazeera, told the state Suna news agency that a total of 31 villages have been wiped out by the floods.

Of these villages, 120 were in one region, Al Manaqil, he added.

A total of 14,500 families have been affected by the floods and rain in Al Jazeera, he said. A total of 90,000 hectares of farmland have been inundated by water, he added.

“The disaster is beyond the resources of the state,” said Mr Abdullah. He said the call for help sent out by local officials brought relief supplies by land and air.

Osman Al Ameen, a farmer and father of five in Al Manaqil, told The National by phone how he and his family cheated death when disaster struck last week, thanks to the help of their neighbours.

“We left our home with only the clothes on our back. May God compensate us for everything that we lost. Thanks be to God, in all cases,” he said.

He said he and his family took shelter at a primary school they which they reached after considerable difficulty. “It took us an hour wading through the water to reach the school,” said Mr Al Ameen, who is surviving with his family on relief handouts.

“We are now very concerned about how we will rebuild our home and even more worried about the loss of our crops. We will have difficulty living a dignified life in the months to come.”

Bakry Hussein, an emergency official at Al Manaqil, said the area saw 3,357 homes destroyed by the floods. A total of 3,500 people also became homeless, he added.

“Our big concern now is that the health situation at the displaced camps will rapidly deteriorate. That could be the next disaster,” Mr Hussein told The National. He also complained that the relief operation in the area was “haphazard” and lacked coordination.

Updated: August 29, 2022, 10:02 AM