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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Sudan declares three-month state of emergency over floods

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Sudan’s Security and Defense Council declared a national state of emergency for three months because of floods that have killed 99 people this year and designated Sudan a natural disaster zone, state news agency SUNA reported early on Saturday.

The Sudanese minister of labour and social development said that in addition to the deaths, floods this year have injured 46 people, inflicted damage on more than half a million people and caused the total and partial collapse of more than 100,000 homes, according to SUNA.

The council also announced the formation of a supreme committee headed by the ministry of labor and social development to deal with the ramifications of the floods for the fall of 2020, SUNA said.

The level of the Blue Nile has risen to 17.57 meters, the ministry of water and irrigation said this week, breaking all records since measurements began more than a century ago. 

But many fear the worst is yet to come. Heavy rains are forecast to continue through September, both in Sudan and upstream in neighboring Ethiopia, the source of the Blue Nile. 

Residents have thrown up makeshift barrages in the path of the water, but their efforts have been engulfed by the rising river.

“In previous years, we would leave our house for two months to live with friends,” Ahmad said. “But this year that was impossible, because water had entered their homes too.”

Sudan’s water ministry predicts that this year’s flood is larger than that of 1998, which destroyed tens of thousands of homes in several states and displaced more than a million people.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that more than 380,000 people have already been affected across the country.

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