A fire, fanned by strong winds, consumed at least 4,000 palm trees, and several homes in Abu Hamed locality in Sudan’s River Nile state on Tuesday, leaving many families dependent on the palms destitute.
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the fire broke out in the Karru area, and spread quickly due to the strong winds. The original cause of the fire is still unknown, however reports from the area say that it consumed a strip of about four kilometres along the Nile, from the western bank.
They complained that there was no action taken by the authorities to contain the blaze, which resulted in more severe damage and losses.
Sources say that large numbers of families are living in the open without shelter after their homes were destroyed, and they are in dire need of food, blankets, and tarpaulins, and will need long-term aid to restore their farms that have been completely destroyed.
The people on the banks of the Nile in northern Sudan are largely dependent on date palms for their subsistence. With an annual production of about 330,000 tons and a date palm population of about eight million (2010 figure), Sudan ranks eighth in the list of top date producing countries of the world. However many thousands of trees have been burned over the past years, and arson has often been suspected.