The global organization Mercy Corps is responding in Sudan to heavy rains and flooding that have left a trail of destruction, damaging homes and essential infrastructure including roads, water sources and health facilities, farmlands and livelihoods of over 506,000 people across 17 of the country's 18 states affected.
The rising flood waters have killed over 100 people, and thousands of others left homeless compounding the existing and emerging humanitarian needs in Sudan.
In response to flooding, Mercy Corps deployed an emergency team to assess the damages and living conditions of over 42,000 flood-affected individuals in the White Nile and the Gedaref States in Sudan. As the rains persist, our teams will continue to update our understanding of the emergency needs and determine how we might support their long-term recovery.
Dr Arif Noor, Country Director for Mercy Corps in Sudan, says:
"The floods have left people in most of these areas in dire straits. The situation is quite complicated already as communities in the areas affected by the floods are some of the most vulnerable people in Sudan. These areas have suffered heavily from the effects of climate change. The soil is desiccated and lacks vegetation to help contain the flood waters. The floods have washed away or damaged essential infrastructure like access roads and communal water points in these very remote villages. We worry the flooding has washed away the seeds that were planted over the last two months and these meagre crops are often the primary source of income and nutrients for families.
On top of all that, Sudan is experiencing the knock-on effects of COVID-19, which we know has disrupted every aspect of life, basic services like access to health care and of course, the economy.
The lack of accessibility due to poor infrastructure makes it so much more challenging. Our team members were wading through water up to their knees to reach some of these evacuation shelters. The flooding is one more big shock to hundreds of vulnerable communities. The situation will only get worse as above-average rainfall is expected through the end of September, and the Blue Nile is already reaching water levels not seen in over 30 years. Our priority now is to ensure people have immediate access to clean water which is critical amid the COVID-19 pandemic, along with sanitation supplies, temporary shelter and other essentials."
Observations by our teams:
"We saw entire communities relying on a single hand-pump and the bathrooms at the only, local school.
"We saw homes that had 15-30 cm of mud caking the floor and walls of their homes. People salvaging whatever few possessions they had that did not get washed away---school books, few plastic cups and pots were on the walls or a bed drying in the sun."
"We saw families assembled and living out of the nearest school until the water subsides. In at least one the entire block of latrine had collapsed with the flood waters.