Sudan: Millions Of Flood Victims Seek Relief Supplies To Begin Anew

KHARTOUM - As the world prepares for the year 2000, many Sudanese victims of this year's floods would be among those welcoming the new year in pain. For them, the beginning of the year would not be a good reason for happiness, for it would be the extension of 1999, a year of floods and agonies in the Sudan.

The floods affected millions of Sudan's population this year and have imposed a pessimism that overshadows the thinking of the victims. Their difficult struggle for food, shelter, medical and other services have made them feel that the future has nothing good in store for them.

The victims and those concerned still remember how, when rains flooded the area of Umbada, Khartoum, August 1 this year, over 1.5 million people were affected. The floods destroyed 30,504 houses and partially damaged 30,543; it destroyed 15 schools and partially damaged 53 others. Health centres were destroyed and other essential services were disrupted.

The situation became more complicated because the Sudanese Government, and the NG0s operating in the country were not well prepared for the disaster. The Emergency Response Programme of the Sudan Council of Churches SCC responded by providing a one-month food ration for 500 families.

The support was mainly for the victims at Salihin and Wodbashir camps for displaced persons, the only areas allocated to SCC. Action By Churches Together ACT International was among those who supported this work as was the European Union EU.

Although the floods that affected Salihin, Wodbashir. Ahsalama camps for displaced persons and other residential areas have subsided, the victims have not yet recovered and freed from the effects of the flood. Children are suffering and dying from diarrhoea and malnutrition attributed to poor environment.

It is feared that as the country approaches the cold season, all those who have failed to rebuild their houses due to financial difficulties would be at risk, a bad news for SCC and its partners who exerted efforts to remedy the situation.

Media reports indicate that in Dongola, the mid-September floods affected 50,000 people and destroyed over 10,000 houses and institutions. Another 7,000 people were affected in both Shendi and Atbara where 250 houses were destroyed, 170 partially. Three schools and two health centres were also destroyed.

A month later, came floods that affected Kadugli in South Kordofan destroying a number of institutions and residential areas. Over 18,000 people have been made homeless under threat of hunger and diseases. ACT/ SCC are planning for an intervention in this area.

Reported by Angelo Lokoyome, SCC Communications Officer, in Khartoum

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