The number of people affected by Sudan's worst flooding of the last three decades continues to increase. Nearly 830,000 people have had their houses destroyed or damaged and over 120 died, according to the Government's Humanitarian Aid Commission.
North Darfur, Khartoum, West Darfur and Sennar are amongst the hardest-hit states, accounting for nearly half of all people affected.
Hundreds of schools and several health facilities have been damaged, compromising essential services to the population.
Torrential downpours destroyed not only houses and key infrastructure but also farms, just before the harvest.
Humanitarians in the country provided critical assistance to over 400,000 people across all states, in support of the Government and civil society response. However, thousands of people are still in need of vital assistance and more funding is urgently required.
Heavy rains and flooding in several parts of Sudan continue to pose unprecedented challenges for thousands of vulnerable families across the country. The number of people critically affected has continued to increase, reaching almost 830,000---more than 480,000 of them children---on 24 September, according to the Government's Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). Some 125,000 refugees and internally displaced people are among those affected, according to assessments carried out by the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR.
Floods and landslides have destroyed or damaged nearly 166,000 houses and killed over 120 people, according to the Government. Over 420 schools have been damaged or destroyed, including their equipment, furniture and learning materials, and at least 50 are now hosting families displaced by the floods, according to Education partners. This could further compromise the starting of the academic year, already postponed from September to the end of November, due to challenges with resources to adapt the fragile education system to minimize the risks of COVID-19.
Extensive damage to a still unconfirmed number of health facilities, the collapse of nearly 16,000 latrines, and damages or contamination of hundreds of water sources, increase the challenges to prevent and treat possible disease outbreaks. Malaria, dengue and cholera are endemic in several parts of Sudan, and the risk of these and other water-borne and vector-borne disease increases with the floods and stagnant water. In the Nothern State, the Ministry of Health declared a State of Health Emergency and is investigating 60 cases of a non-confirmed disease causing fever amongst the population in Ad Dabbah and Morwoe localities. At least eight people have died, according to the Federal Ministry of Health.
Food security can also be compromised, following the destruction of thousands of hectares of crops just before the harvest. Several farms are flooded, especially in riverine areas along the White Nile, Blue Nile and Nile rivers, according to WFP. The situation is especially concerning for farmers in different parts of Khartoum State, where over 1.4 million people are severely food insecure, according to latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis. Across the state, over 67 per cent of farms are flooded in Um Durman, more than 60 per cent in Karari, and nearly 30 per cent in Khartoum North. The situation is also critical in Ar Rahad, Gedaref State, Ad Dinder, in Sennar State, where 26 and 17 per cent of the crops are flooded. In River Nile State, about 75 per cent of the farms in Al Matama, more than 41 per cent in Shendi, and nearly 20 per cent in Barbar are now under water.
The flooding also brings protection concerns, especially amongst children, women, and displaced people. Families who lost everything can be forced to rely on negative coping strategies to survive, including child labour that is already being reported, according to humanitarian partners. The lack of education services poses children at higher risk of exploitation, and the extra burden on affected families also increases cases of violence against women and girls. People living with disabilities or chronic diseases, elderly, pregnant and lactating women also need specific services that are now compromised by the destruction of facilities and reduced services.
Overall, the torrential rains and flooding add to an already fragile humanitarian situation in Sudan, where nearly 10 million people need assistance. The situation could further deteriorate over the coming days, as more rains forecast across Eastern Africa, including in the catchment areas of the Blue and While Nile rivers, which might lead to more destruction in Sudan. According to Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa, heavy rainfall is expected in the coming days in several parts of the region, particularly in western Ethiopia, parts of South Sudan, western Kenya and much of Uganda, as well as moderate rains in southern parts of Sudan.
Government, humanitarian organizations, private sector and civil society movements, with support of local and international donors, continue the response across all states. Over 400,000 people were reached by aid organizations with critical assistance, including food, shelter, clean water and health services.
Since the start of the rainy season, humanitarians provided emergency shelter and household items such as kitchen utensils to more than 150,000 people who have lost everything when their houses collapsed or where washed away by floodwater. Humanitarian partners have also provided food assistance to 160,000 people and health services to over 350,000 people affected by the storms and critical support on water and sanitation to more than 350,000.
In addition, at least 34 airplanes with supplies donated from several countries to support the Government's response have landed in Khartoum over the last days, according to information gathered by Emergency Operation Centre, established to coordinate overall efforts to assist people in Sudan.
However, the number of people affected has continued to grow, and despite the remarkable international and national support, humanitarians in Sudan are running out of funding to continue the operations. Health Sector partners received only 15 per cent of the US$110 million requested for health services. This represents less than half of the total received in 2019.
The funding for water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH), critical for the floods response and also to prevent COVID-19 transmissions, is extremely low. WASH partners received less than 22 per cent of the total 71.6 million required.
As consequence, several gaps are being reported from partners on the ground, especially on WASH and health services and supplies, including vector-control activities in Kassala, Nothern, North Kordofan and Darfur region; water supplies and sanitation and hygiene services in Dafur region, Kassala, Red Sea, Sennar; medical supplies and fuel for transport in most of the areas affected.
For more information, please contact OCHA Sudan:
Saviano Abreu, email@example.com
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.