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Flash floods leave 2,500 homeless in Sudan

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July 3, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — Flash floods in the Sudanese town of Rabak have made at least 2,500 people homeless with more rain expected, the Sudanese Red Crescent said on Tuesday.

"They have no shelter. There is a real risk of disease outbreaks," said Afaf Bukhari from the Sudanese Red Crescent. "They need tents, they need blankets and plastic sheeting. They need health units."

Hundreds of houses have been destroyed and the road to Rabak, south of Khartoum, was submerged due to heavy rains.

"The forecasts say that it is going to get worse," Bukhari added. "We are expecting more floods in many areas."

Reports of further flooding were already coming in from Sennar along the Blue Nile, Kassala in east Sudan, North Kordofan and Jazeera state south of Khartoum, Bukhari said.

Red Crescent staff were still awaiting details of the numbers affected in those areas. There were no reports of injuries or deaths.

Farrah Ebeid, a resident in Sennar, said floods had also destroyed many houses there.

"Some people have lost everything. Many houses have collapsed and the people have no shelter," he told Reuters by telephone from the affected area.

"The water level is knee high in some areas," he added.

Sudan’s state news agencies last week said authorities were making preparations for the flood season as rain began to fall in the capital.

But Ebeid said little had been done. "Municipality officials came and registered the names of those affected, but the authorities haven’t given them anything."

He said authorities brought a pump to drain out the water, but then ran out of fuel. Residents were paying for fuel for the pump.

Last year the river Nile reached levels in Khartoum higher than both 1988 and 1946 when the worst floods of the century hit Sudan. Government sources said at least 27 were killed last year and almost 10,000 houses were partially or completely destroyed.

Ebeid said this year’s floods in Sennar were already worse than in 2006.

(Reuters)

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