Climate Change has held captive yet another country this year. This time it is the country of Sudan, in East Africa that has seen record levels of rainfall, caused flooding in the Nile river and its tributaries. According to Washington Post, this has been the worst flooding in at least a century.
On 4 September 2020, a three-month national state of emergency was declared in Sudan due to the floods, which have taken at least 99 lives and have injured at least 46, with millions more affected.
Climate Change has been largely blamed for the rise in rainfall this year. In addition, it was also pointed out that a lot of trees were cut down to make residential areas near the riverbanks, affecting the valleys where the water would flow through. Thus, this natural disaster (floods) was clearly anthropogenic and thus, avoidable.
According to NASA, seventeen of Sudan’s eighteen states experienced flooding this year and Khartoum state was one of the worst hit. The capital city, Khartoum got heavy rain that made the White and Blue Nile breach their banks, the twin city of Omdurman was also severely impacted. The floods damaged thousands of homes and buildings and threatened a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Meroe Pyramids and the national museum of Sudan as well.
Records set by floods and rainfall in 1946 and 1988 were already broken this year by early September. According to NASA, the Sudan Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources reported that the Nile river, which is fed by several tributaries such as White, Blue and Black Nile tributaries had crested to a record-breaking level of 17.4 meters or 57 feet, by early September.
According to Floodlist, floods and landslides have damaged 166,000 houses, according to the Sudan government which has directly impacted nearly 830,000 people. Crops were also damaged right before their harvest.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) by October 2, 2020, 560 schools, along with thousands of health facilities had been impacted. This damage has worsened the situation in Sudan, as essential services have been compromised. According to Washington Post, humanitarian aid has also been slow to arrive and people are seeking shelter in schools and government offices.
According to Aljazeera, Sudan’s Security and Defense Council announced the formation of a supreme committee to deal with the effects of the floods.
By October 2, 2020, according to the UN OCHA, the humanitarian response by itself and its partners had reached 400,000 people, including emergency shelter and essential household items relief to over 181,000 flood-affected refugees, 1.87 million internally displaced people and Sudanese across the country. However, more is needed, especially in today’s complex time of coronavirus. In addition, the Sudanese are facing surged inflation, which was at almost 170 per cent in August that worsened the situation considerably. The inflation has caused a shortage of basic commodities and increased prices of some locally sourced supplies by 300 to 400 per cent.
Thus, the Sudanese government and the UN appeal for help from civil society and humanitarian organizations to send aid to deal with the ramifications of the floods.