MAKAYLAB, Sudan: In the Sudanese village of Makailab, Mohammed Tigani picked up the rubble pile of what was once an adobe house after heavy rains caused catastrophic flooding and washed away the rubble. “It was like the end of the world,” said Tigani, 53, from Sudan’s Nile State of Makhairab, about 400 kilometers north of the capital Khartoum. “We haven’t seen rain or floods like this in this area for years,” he said, looking for something to help build a shelter for his pregnant wife and child.
Sudan typically experiences heavy rains between May and October, and the country faces severe flooding each year, destroying property, infrastructure and crops. Floods have killed at least 79 people and left thousands homeless this year, according to official figures. On Sunday, Sudan declared a state of emergency as floods hit six of her states, including the Nile.
The crisis comes at a time when Sudan is reeling from deepening political instability and an economic crisis exacerbated by last year’s military coup led by Army Chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Nearly a quarter of Sudan’s population, 11.7 million people, are in need of food aid. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing government statistics, estimates that more than 146,000 people have been affected by the floods this year and 31,500 homes have been damaged or destroyed.
But the United Nations has warned that up to 460,000 people could be affected by flooding this year as more than a month of rain is expected. The number of people and areas affected has doubled this year,” OCHA said on Monday. Flooding isn’t just along the Nile, the war-torn western region of Darfur has been hit hardest, affecting more than 90,000 people.
Since the start of the devastating rainy season, thousands of families in Sudan have been left homeless and sheltered under tattered loot. “Everything is completely destroyed,” said Haider Abdelrahman as he sat in the ruins of his home in Makailab. OCHA warns that “swelled rivers and standing water increase the risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera, acute watery diarrhea and malaria.”
Abdelrahman said he fears floods are displacing scorpions and snakes. “People are scared,” he said. “People are seriously in need of basic help against insects and mosquitoes,” said Seyfeddin Soliman, 62, of Makailab. But Health Ministry official Yasser Hashem said the situation was “so far under control” due to a “spraying campaign to keep mosquitoes away”. Of Makaylab’s approximately 3,000 residents, there were approximately 6-7 cases each day, primarily diarrhoea.
South Sudan, which borders the upper White Nile, has seen record rainfall and river flooding in recent years, displacing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, and the United Nations warned that “abnormal flooding” could lead to climate change. said to be related to the influence of Sudan’s Nile floods are occurring despite Ethiopia’s controversial construction of a 145m high hydroelectric dam above the Blue Nile.
Some experts, such as the US-based research and campaign group International Rivers, believe that changing weather patterns due to climate change could lead to irregular flooding and drought in the Nile basin, the world’s longest river. I warn you that it is possible. Many fear that the devastating floods in Makailab are just the beginning. “The rainy season has just started,” said Abdelrahman. “And there is no place for people to go.” – AFP