July 30, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Khartoum state has declared a state of high alert following heavy rains which hit the capital on Wednesday.
- A Sudanese woman sits with her child next to her house in a flooded street on the outskirts of the capital Khartoum on 10 August 2013 (Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)
Dozens of families in the west of Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman were seen carrying their belongings after their homes were destroyed by rain which amounted to 43 mm. Floods have also destroyed homes in villages and areas south of Omdurman.
Eastern parts of Omdurman also suffered from heavy rains and power outages and distress calls were heard in Al-Thawra neighbourhood. Fallen trees and shattered signboard impeded normal flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on public streets.
Khartoum state governor, Abdel-Rahman Al-Khidir, toured areas affected by floods in Um badda and Karrari neighbourhoods, announcing closing of schools for one week.
Al-Khidir declared a state of high alert and formed a 24-hour central emergency committee in the state’s 105 administrative unit besides giving localities the right to use heavy machinery to draw waters and clean up roads.
He also decided to put the civil defence and river rescue forces in a high of alert besides putting police in a %50 state of readiness of 50% in anticipation of emergency matters following weather forecast that heavy rains will continue until 11 August.
The governor also directed state’s authorities to supply affected families with sheeting and tents.
Khartoum state stressed in a press report that old and new water drains were able to discharge most of the waters, saying some lowlands and squares need additional work.
It underscored there were no casualties or serious damage to property, saying that primary outcome showed that 60 homes were completely or partially destroyed in Um Bada besides 10 others in Karrari.
The governor further called upon Khartoum residents to allow the concerned engineering bodies carry out their work and not to throw wastes on water drains.
The commissioner of Jebel Al-Awliya, al-Bashir Abu Kasawi, told the state-run radio of Omdurman that localities of Karrari, east Nile, and Jebel al-Awliya and other areas have been affected by rains and floods.
Sudan’s General Authority for Meteorology (GAM) said Khartoum state saw an increase of rainfall ranging from 60 to 110 mm which led to raising levels of the Nile waters, pointing the increase represent a real threat to residents of the White and Blue Nile banks.
Competent bodies have advised Khartoum state to carry out strategic plan to build permanent water drains, spray insecticides, and drying waters of public squares.
Heavy rains also isolated 15 villages in the locality of south Gazira in Gazira state.
Sudan’s president, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, was seen on Monday in a surprise inspection tour for construction works of a bridge in east Nile locality following heavy rains which hit Khartoum state on Saturday.
Heavy floods have been common in the past few years in Sudan’s east along the Blue Nile but happen more rarely in the capital and the north where much of Sudan’s population live.
Floods and rains that hit different areas in Sudan last year lead to the death of at least 38 people and injured dozens.
Rains which fell during the past few days have turned Khartoum into a pond of water amid widespread anger over what is perceived as an inadequate government response.
Meanwhile, the commissioner of south Gazira locality, Kambal Hassan al-Mahi, attributed isolation of these villages to poor drainage, saying walls and bathrooms of several homes and schools were destroyed by the rain.
He announced mobilization of all resources of the locality, state, and Gazira scheme board to rescue the isolated villages.
The commissioner of Al-Ghorashi locality in Gazira state, Abdel-Basit al-Dikhairi, for his part, announced collapse of 114 homes and several government buildings in 15 villages due to heavy rains in the past two days.