Sudan continues to face its worst flooding in decades. Weeks of torrential downpours have caused deaths, displacement, and massive destructions to key infrastructure and livelihoods across the country.
Over 100 people have lost their lives and the number of people critically affected has exceeded 730,000 as of 16 September, according to the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission.
More than 146,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed, forcing thousands of people to seek refuge with relatives or at public buildings, including schools.
Humanitarian actors have scaled-up operations, in support of the Government-led response. At least 320,000 people have been reached with critical assistance, including shelter, clean water and health services.
However, thousands of people are still in need of vital assistance and more funding is urgently required. The overall Humanitarian Response Plan for Sudan is only 44 per cent funded.
Weeks of torrential rains and the unprecedented rise of the Nile River have caused one of the worst flooding Sudan has faced in more than three decades. Over 100 people have lost their lives and the number of people critically affected has exceeded 730,000 on 16 September, according to the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). Sudan had not faced such levels of destruction due to rains since 1988, when nearly 1 million families saw their houses being damaged or completely destroyed by the storms. Exactly two weeks ago, on 4 September, the Transitional Government of Sudan declared a national State of Emergency to increase the efforts to support people in urgent need of assistance.
With 17 of the country’s 18 states affected, Khartoum, North Darfur, West Darfur and Sennar states have been particularly hit. Over 146,000 homes have been destroyed (more than 71,000) or damaged (around 75,000) across the country, leaving thousands of people homeless and forcing them to seek refugee with relatives or at public buildings, including schools. The start of the school year, expected for the end of September, has been postponed until the end of November. Hundreds of schools have been damaged or destroyed and dozens are being used as emergency shelter for people displaced, adding to the already fragile infrastructure that impacts the education system.
The full impact of the destruction will only be felt in the months ahead. Thousands of hectares of crops have been damaged in the middle of the agricultural season, compromising the harvest and the food security of thousands of families.
More than 360 shops and warehouses have been destroyed and over 11,000 livestock have died or were washed away by floodwater, further hampering access to food and critical income for the most vulnerable in the country. Access to clean water and sanitation facilities, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, has also been affected. More than 12,000 latrines were destroyed and the collapse of the Bout Dam puts in risk access to water for more than 100,000 people in Blue Nile State alone.
Khartoum is the hardest-hit state, with more than 102,000 people affected, as of 16 September. According to HAC, approximately 12,400 houses collapsed due to floods and storms, and other 8,140 are damaged. The Blue Nile and White Nile burst their banks in the capital, flooding several riverine communities. The water level has slightly receded over the last days, but more rains are expected and could lead to renewed flooding and destruction.
In Red Sea State, more than 2,000 houses have been destroyed and approximately 8,000 damaged, leaving over 50,000 people in a dire situation. The storms led the seasonal rivers, including Kor Baraka and Kor Arab to burst their banks, destroying critical bridges and blocking roads, including the highway the connects the country’s capital Khartoum to Port Sudan, according to media reports. At least 7,300 livestock died due to the flood, according to preliminary data from humanitarians in the field.
In Nothern State, torrential rains over the last week led to flash floods in Dal and Tangasi areas. More than 300 houses were completely destroyed in Dal and another 100 collapsed in Tangasi, leaving more than 2,000 people homeless. More than 8,000 hectares of crops are reportedly flooded, risking the produce. Over 100 schools are flooded and nearly 600 latrines have been lost. In total, more than 12,000 people are affected in the state and the situation is expected to deteriorate in the coming days, as several islands are at risk of riverine flooding, which would require air evacuation of the local population.
In Darfur region, torrential downpours are affecting the already vulnerable displaced and refugee population. In South Darfur, over 130 latrines have been destroyed in several camps over the last week. In Central Darfur, flash floods and continued rains have led to the collapse of hundreds of homes and affecting thousands of internally displaced people (IDP), including a still unconfirmed number of families in Tayba and Hamedya IDP camps, in Zalingei Locality. More than 70,000 people are affected in North Darfur and nearly 69,000 in West Darfur, where several roads are impassable.
The torrential rains and flooding compound increasing and emerging humanitarian needs in Sudan, including a dire food crisis, an economic downturn, pockets of violence, and disease outbreaks. The Nile River reached its highest level in 100 years, according to the Government, and more rains forecast for the coming days in several parts of Sudan will likely lead to more riverine and flash floods.