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Once-in-a-lifetime floods wreak havoc across Africa



The river Nile regularly bursts its banks in Sudan, irrigating the area and making parts of the vast nation one of the breadbaskets of Africa. But this year the Nile has reached such an ‘unprecedented level’ that the water is threatening the country’s 200 ancient pyramids. 

Last week, archaeologists and officials were forced to build sandbag walls and pump water away from the royal pyramids at Nuri and Meroe. “The floods had never affected the site before,” Marc Maillot, an archaeologist, told reporters. “If the level of the Nile continues to rise, the measures taken may not be sufficient.”

In war-torn South Sudan, more than 600,000 people have been displaced by floods along the White Nile, according to the United Nations. 

Across western Africa, the story is much the same. The river Niger broke its banks in Niamey, Niger’s capital, sweeping away mud huts and displacing more than 225,000 people, according to local authorities. 

In Nigeria, with its giant population of 200m, the floods have reportedly washed away a quarter of the rice harvest.

Even the arid coastal nation of Senegal has not been spared. Earlier this month authorities there recorded 124 millimetres of rain in seven hours — the volume it would normally get throughout its entire rainy season from July to September.

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