The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is part of the Famine Early Warning Systems Network; NOAA specializes in weather forecasts. In June FEWSNet posted on its Sudan page that the Nile River and its tributaries had already reached high levels (especially the Blue Nile), and that more rain predicted for Ethiopia and Eritrea’s highlands would only make matters worse (1).
But to really understand what this means, we must turn to Radio Dabanga, an organization with reporters on the scene, who talk to survivors and witnesses in a country that many western news organizations almost completely ignore, no matter how bad things get there.
So when on August 4, Radio Dabanga reported that both the Nile and Blue Nile were expected to keep rising (2), those of us who monitor the situation in Sudan were not surprised.
And from late July through the first week of August, Kassala State has seen portions of major roads washed out, a dam fail (3), two valleys washed out (2), forty-five families disappear (3), and overall 27,735 people affected in July alone, with most them needing shelter, food, healthcare and potable water (4). And there have been reports of houses collapsing amid heavy rains and flooding in Blue Nile, Red Sea, Sennar, El Geradef and South Kordofan States (see various RD articles from July 25 to August 8, 2016 at www.dabangasudan.org ).
But North, Central and South Darfur States have also been hit. Five villages in Ed El Fursan area of South Darfur were washed away (5). Eleven women and children died due to flood/rain related causes and about 900 shelters have been destroyed in Otash camp near Nyala (6). Awatif Abdelrahman Yousef, who is the leader of the Darfur Displaced Women’s Association, declared that:
“We foresee a major environmental and health disaster in Otash, Kalma, Sakali, Dereig and Salam camps, as the rain water filled the latrines, and the sewage is floating in the floods that are all over the place. (6)”
Indeed, Kalma camp, home to some 160,000 people, is now “one big pool” according to Saleh Eisa, the Secretary General for Kalma (7).
In Central Darfur, the lake near Um Dukhun has flooded several districts; half the market there is under water (8). And the North Darfur Minister for Urban Planning reports that as of August, 7, over two thousand houses have been damaged by rains there (5).
This is just a sampling of the flood reports RD has published lately.
- FEWSNet, June 2016: http://www.fews.net/east-africa/sudan
- Radio Dabanga, August 4, 2016: “Villages swept away in Sudan as Blue Nile swells”: https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/villages-swept-away-in-sudan-as-blue-nile-swells
- Radio Dabanga, August 2, 2016, “Eastern Sudan families missing after floods”: https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/eastern-sudan-families-missing-after-floods
- Radio Dabanga, August 7, 2016: “Food aid needed for flood victims in eastern Sudan’s Kassala”: https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/food-aid-needed-for-flood-victims-in-eastern-sudan-s-kassala
- Radio Dabanga, August 8, 2016: “Villages washed away in South Darfur”: https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/villages-washed-away-in-south-darfur
- Radio Dabanga, August 8, 2016: “Rains in Sudan leave at least 17 dead”: https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/rains-in-sudan-leave-at-least-17-dead
- Radio Dabanga, August 7, 2016: “Rains, floods destroy hundreds of South Darfur homes”: https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/rains-floods-destroy-hundreds-of-south-darfur-homes
- Radio Dabanga, August 5, 2016: “Schools close as rivers flood eastern Sudan”: https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/schools-close-as-rivers-flood-eastern-sudan