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Sudan’s devastating floods will happen again and again without international support

16 9 9

Sudan’s struggling economy and healthcare sector, already crippled by the coronavirus pandemic, have been pushed to their limits in recent weeks as devastating floods, the worst in nearly a century, have swept the country. With a record rise of over 17.5 metres of the River Nile’s level triggered by heavy seasonal rains in Sudan and neighbouring Ethiopia since mid-July, large swathes of the North African country have been submerged in water. At least 114 people have been killed and nearly 100,000 homes have been destroyed.

“This is not the first time that Sudan has witnessed severe flooding,” Sudanese journalist Ahmed Abdul Wahab told MEMO. “Every couple of decades, many islands and villages in the country suffer significant damage and displacement as a result of floods.”

The last really severe flood was in 1988 he pointed out. “The worst before that was perhaps in 1946, but this year’s floods were record-breaking and the level of destruction is unprecedented.”

Indeed, the lives of more than 650,000 people across Sudan have been affected by the floods, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), with more than 110,000 hits in the first week of September alone. This has led the Sudanese government to declare a three-month state of emergency.

Khartoum-based environmental activist Nisreen Elsaim believes that climate change has played a role in the intensifying level of damage and destruction caused by the phenomenon globally. “I think our government and those of surrounding countries should take climate change very seriously and include it in their annual planning and strategies,” she warned. As the UN Secretary-General’s youth advisor on climate change, her words should be taken seriously.

However, she argues that Sudan suffers flood catastrophes because the country has been exhausted by various challenges and economic and political instability over many decades. “The system has collapsed; the economy has collapsed, and the infrastructure has collapsed.”

MEMOinConversationWith: Sudan’s devastating floods will happen again and again without international support

The flooding has certainly had an impact on every aspect of life for those living in Sudan. The capital Khartoum sits on the confluence of the White and Blue Niles but is only one of 17 out of Sudan’s 18 states affected by the floods.

With hundreds of thousands displaced and many taking shelter not only in tents but also in schools across the country, instead of September, the start of the academic year has been pushed back for the first time to November at the........

© Middle East Monitor

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