SUDAN: FLOODING REACHING UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS
KHARTOUM, 26 July 2007 (IRIN) - Floods
that have already left thousands of families homeless in Sudan
have reached a critical stage in several states, an official from the government’s emergency response committee said.
"The river levels have exceeded those of previous years, especially
in the Nile River state [northern Sudan]," said General Awad Widatallah Hussein, spokesman for
the committee, on 26 July.
government Humanitarian Aid Commission reported on 24 July that the level of the Blue Nile at Khartoum, the capital, was "far above" the record levels seen at this time of year in 1988.
Readings from several monitoring stations show the Nile to
be more than a metre higher than in 1988.
At least 59 people have been killed and more than 35,000 families left homeless by rains and floods
affecting 12 of the 26 states, he said.
Hussein told IRIN that 134 public buildings, including schools, health centres, police stations
and other government facilities had collapsed.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the floods,
expected to continue until the end of the wet season in September, could affect up to 2.4 million people across 16 states.
said Khartoum state, where the White Nile and Blue Nile rivers meet, had suffered most, with
more than 13,000 families affected, followed by North Kordofan state in central Sudan.
state in the east, the Gash River,
fed by waters from the Ethiopian plateau, burst its banks. "Weather reports indicate that rainfall will be very high and the
White Nile and Blue Nile will reach unprecedented levels," Hussein said.
He added: "We expect more floods as
heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands continue to feed the Blue Nile and its tributaries."
reported that floods have washed away roads and bridges across the country, making it more difficult to reach certain areas.
In the Red Sea state in northeastern Sudan,
the Port Sudan-Tokar road was damaged, isolating Tokar from the rest of the country. The main highway linking Khartoum
and Southern Sudan was closed briefly, and the road from Kosti to Um Ruwaba in central Sudan was disabled for five days.
Most roads connecting Sudan
and Egypt have also been closed.
The National Civil Defence Council has called on
all relevant government agencies and civil society organisations to prepare for the floods. Warnings have also been issued
to people living on flood plains and island dwellers to move to safer areas.
The UN resident coordinator's office is tracking response from UN agencies, NGOs, Sudanese Red Crescent and state institutions, and reported that thousands of tents, plastic
sheets, jerry cans and blankets have been mobilised to respond to needs across northern Sudan. Medical supplies, insecticide, family survival kits, including household
items and food, are also being supplied.
In Southern Sudan, nearly 10,000 people have been affected by floods in Unity and Upper Nile States,
according to UN agencies. The floods have hit hardest in Renk county in Upper Nile, where
the effect of heavy rains has been compounded by natural drainage systems being disrupted by road construction.
A recent study by the UN Environment
Programme stated that road construction (often connected to the oil industry) in Southern
Sudan could have wide-ranging environmental effects, including flooding, erosion and watercourse siltation.