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Nile water level breaks record in Sudan

August 28 - 2020 KHARTOUM / EL GEDAREF
The Nile water level is rising quickly in Khartoum (Social media)
The Nile water level is rising quickly in Khartoum (Social media)

The water level of the Blue Nile in Khartoum reached a height record on Thursday. Parts of the banks of the White Nile and the River Nile are flooded. Heavy rainfall and flooding have affected more than 380,000 people in Sudan since the start of the rainy season in July.

The level of 17.43 metres registered yesterday is the highest one since water level recording started more than a century ago.

The White Nile went out of its course under El Fitihab bridge in southern Omdurman and flooded the areas of El Rawda El Hasaniya and El Shigelab south of Khartoum.

Abrof and El Dibagha neighbourhoods near the River Nile in old Omdurman flooded as well. Several residential areas in the northern part of Khartoum Bahri have become isolated by floods.

Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Yasir Abbas said in a press conference yesterday that the Blue Nile level in Khartoum recorded 17.43 metres. He said the level may rise to 17.44 metres on Friday (today).

He compared the current levels with the disaster year of 1988, when torrential rains caused the Nile water to rise to 17 metres. During the major floods in 1946, the water level reached 17.10 metres.

The minister urged the people living near the banks of the Nile rivers “to take the warnings seriously, and take more precautions to protect their lives and their homes”.

Engineer Abdelrahman Segheiroun, Director of the Nile Water Department and chairman of the National Flood Task Force, attributed the rising Nile water levels in Khartoum to the quickly growing population.

The urbanisation of the areas surrounding the city has led to a narrowing in the course of the rivers, and consequently the rise of the level of the Nile, he said in the press conference, and called for “all necessary measures” to be taken to protect lives and property.

Torrential rains caused major floods in eastern Sudan’s El Gedaref two days ago. El Hawata and El Mafaza in the western parts of the state have become entirely isolated.

Resistance Committee member Mohamed Mahjoub told Radio Dabanga from El Mafaza that floods swept away a number of roads as well.

The rains and the rising waters of El Rahad river caused “a lot of damage in a number of districts in El Mafaza,” he reported.

Challenges

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan said in its Situation Report on Thursday that the current rainy season since its start in July has affected over 380,000 people in the country.

(OCHA)

According to preliminary data from the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), more than 37,000 homes have been destroyed, forcing most of the families affected to seek shelter with relatives and host communities.

The authorities, led by HAC, and aid organisations are providing life-saving assistance to people affected. They are facing quite some challenges, as roads became impassable in several areas and prepositioned emergency supplies are being rapidly depleted.

HAC is leading the National Flood Task Force to coordinate the response with all partners. Needs identified through assessments include emergency shelter and household supplies, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance, food and agricultural assistance, health, and vector control.

A quick response has been possible as Government, UN agencies and partners prepositioned supplies to respond to the needs of 250,000 people before the rains started. But the stocks are being depleted rapidly and more support, including from donors, is urgently needed, OCHA states.


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