FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 4/01 - Sudan

In the wake of two consecutive years of serious drought, extensive floods in parts of northern and southern Sudan have displaced tens of thousands of people, destroyed crops and aggravated the already precarious food supply situation in the affected areas. Heavy rains in the Blue Nile catchment areas in Ethiopian highlands caused an overflow of the Nile river and submerged many villages and settlements. Despite reports of a respite, water levels in the Nile surpassed those of 1988, when the river burst its banks causing massive destruction. Worst affected areas are northern and eastern parts along the Nile, including areas around the capital city Khartoum. Parts of southern and western Sudan have also suffered from torrential rains and floods. Large numbers of people have been evacuated. Access to the affected population was made difficult by damage to main roads and bridges.
The humanitarian situation in the affected areas is reported to be critical and there is an urgent need for international assistance to rescue the stranded people and to provide them with food, drinking water, medicines and other assistance. As several areas are inaccessible, airlift operations are needed to reach the isolated population. A full assessment of crop losses and agricultural damage is not yet available, but preliminary indications point to significant crop and livestock losses.

Overall prospects for the 2001 main season cereal crop, normally harvested from October, were already poor before the damage caused by floods. A late start of the rainy season in parts and population displacement due to an escalation of conflict in southern Sudan resulted in a decline in plantings and potential yields. The losses and yield reductions caused by the floods are likely to worsen the already unfavourable harvest outlook.

FAO and WFP will jointly field a mission to the country in October/November 2001, to assess the outcome of this year's harvest and the food supply outlook for 2001/02 (November/October) including an estimation of the country's food import requirements and food aid needs of the affected population.