Home | News    Tuesday 5 August 2003

Kassala needs 150 million dollars in post-flood reconstruction: minister

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KHARTOUM, Aug 5 (AFP) — The cost of rebuilding the deveastated eastern city of Kassala following the worst floods in 70 years will run to 150 million dollars, according to the Sudanese government, state media reported Tuesday.

At least nine people died and tens of thousands were left homeless when the Qash River last week burst its banks in Kassala, which has since declared a disaster zone.

Interior Minister Major General Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein told state radio Tuesday that the city needed 150 million dollars to rebuild the city.

Hussein made the announcement at a meeting between Kassala state officials and Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir in Khartoum, the radio added.

On Sunday, the ministry said 21 of the city’s 24 residential quarters had been washed away when water levels rose to their highest in 70 years.

Beshir has ordered Finance Minister Al-Zubair Ahmed Hassan to dispense 10 billion Sudanese pounds (4 million US dollars) in immediate relief to Kassala residents.

Hussein said some 16 domestic flights and 11 land convoys have brought about 508 tonnes of plastic sheets, tents, foods and medicines into the city in the last week.

Additional relief flights from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, began arriving in Sudan on Monday, a statement issued by police spokesman, Major General Adel Sidahmed, said.

Foreign assistance comes in response to telephone appeals from President Beshir to the heads of a number of Arab countries.

Kassala State Governor General Faruq Hassan Mohammed Nour said 90 out of 101 schools in the state were either destroyed or about to collapse, following the disaster, the radio reported.

President Beshir called on engineers from the ministry of irrigation and water resources to find a solution to the annual flooding of the Qash during the Sudanese autumn, radio said.

The premier suggested a canal could be created to alleviate water pressure on the banks of the river.

Elsewhere, police said 226 houses were levelled and livestock killed as torrential rains hit several villages in the Managil district of Gezira state, central Sudan, on Monday.

Sudanese authorities have warned that the situation could worsen by mid-August as heavier rainfall is expected, and urged communities along both the Nile and the Blue Nile to make contingency plans for flooding.

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