Sudan floods: collapsed Darfur dam threatens to flood entire town

The number of houses demolished by torrential rains in El Salam camp for the displaced in South Darfur has risen to more than 4,000. No new casualties were reported, but the situation is alarming. In Katila floods caused a shortage of clean drinking water whilst the collapse of the dam near Um Dafug, in the south of the state, threatens to flood the entire town.

The South Darfur Ministry of Social Welfare reported significant damage as a result of the torrential floods in the state, especially in the camps for the displaced.

Asnat Adam Ali, Director General of the Social Welfare Ministry, said yesterday that the Rainy Season Emergency Committee has monitored many of the needs of affected people and is currently seeking to provide them with basic necessities in cooperation with aid organisations and Zakat (Muslim alms) offices in South Darfur and Khartoum.

Earlier this week, Radio Dabanga reported that many farms were destroyed by flooding in Central and South Darfur, as they are often located next to rivers. This is particularly worrying because Sudan's agricultural season is already under threat and, with the economic crisis and rising inflation, Sudan's food security is in peril.

El Salam camp

Mahjoub Talabdia, a resident of El Salam camp, south of Nyala, capital of South Darfur, reported that the situation in the camps is worrying. More than 4,000 families are sleeping rough because their homes collapsed.

He urged the authorities to provide urgent assistance to the affected people "who lack the simplest food and non-food items".

Earlier this week, Sheikh Ishag Mohamed told Radio Dabanga that torrential rains destroyed 7,490 homes in Kalma camp last week, affecting around 20,000 families. Most of those affected are without shelter or food. 2,322 children were reported as malnourished in Kalma camp and six died of malnutrition after the World Food Programme (WFP) had to suspend support.

Katila drinking water emergency

The Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid in Katila in South Darfur, Mudawi Dawelbeit, expressed his fear of the deterioration of the health conditions in the locality in the wake of torrential rains and floods that swept the area recently.

Many people have lost their homes, he told Radio Dabanga yesterday.

"Drinking water sources are blocked due to the floods, which forces the people to drink from stagnant water where disease vectors are breeding", he said. He reported the emergence of some cases of watery diarrhea and the outbreak of malaria among many locals.

'Drinking water sources are blocked due to the floods, which forces the people to drink from stagnant water where disease vectors are breeding' - Mudawi Dawelbeit

Um Dafug dam collapse

On Wednesday, ongoing torrential rains led to the collapse of the dam in Um Dafug, near the border with the Central African Republic.

Omda Abdelkarim Younes told Radio Dabanga that the excessive rainwater washed away the dam from the southwest side and swept most of the farms located between the dam and Um Dafug town.

"The people attempted to block the water with their limited capabilities, but couldn't stop the water from flooding large parts of the town", he said. Younes accused the authorities of "not moving a finger" despite repeated warnings about the imminent flooding of the dam.

He praised the efforts of the joint border forces to help the people in the area. He said that the losses in farms and homes are significant, but they have not been counted so far.

A native administration leader also expressed his regrets concerning the loss of the large fish wealth that had been cultivated in the dam's lake over the past years.

It is one of the largest water storage dams in South Darfur. The dykes on the western flank collapsed, near Um Rawg. The collapse of the Um Dafug dam threatens to flood Um Dafug town completely.